Emeldi v. University of Oregon Brings the Student-Professor Relationship into the Workplace

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Vol: 33, Issue: 3, Page: 0

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Schranz, Molly
Civil Procedure; Civil Rights and Discrimination; Education Law; Labor and Employment Law; Law and Gender
commentary description
On June 9, 2012, in Emeldi v. University of Oregon, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a grant of summary judgment to the publicly-funded University of Oregon in a Title IX suit brought by a female Ph.D. student claiming retaliation following her complaints of gender discrimination. By applying the Title VII framework used for employment discrimination cases, the court analogized the graduate student’s relationship to that of an employee and found that the student’s allegations alone were sufficient to create a factual dispute. Because the Title VII framework frequently allows these types of allegations to survive summary judgment, a student’s allegations are more likely to be found non-speculative under the Ninth Circuit’s application of the Title VII framework to Title IX cases. This may result in more Title IX discrimination cases surpassing the summary judgment stage, thereby empowering students to speak out against discrimination.