Law school hosts gender discrimination symposium

Western Michigan University Cooley Law Review is hosting its annual symposium at 2 p.m. Friday, March 29, at the WMU-Cooley Lansing campus. This year’s panel discussion, “The Changing Face of Title IX: An Eye on Gender Discrimination,” focuses on the changes in Title IX.  Panelists include Charyn Hain, partner at Varnum Attorneys at Law; Donald Lawless, partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLC; and Karen Truszkowski, principal at Temperance Legal Group LLC.

Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 is a federal law that states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

As a member of Varnum’s Litigation and Trial Services Practice Team, Hain focuses on probate litigation, including wills, guardianship/conservatorship matters, mental health proceedings and disputes involving trust agreements, and often represents school districts and higher education and institutions. Hain has served as associate general counsel at a Big Ten university and counsel for a multistate K-12 policy company, where she developed insight and experience not only in legal aspects of education, but also the practical aspects and the needs of her clients. Hain has experience preparing school policies, representing school boards, providing counsel on student affairs, school discipline matters, representing districts and higher education clients in Title IX, as well as other matters investigated by the Office of Civil Rights, and campus safety and health issues. She also has experience in physician licensing, credentialing, privileging and employment matters.

Lawless has represented colleges and universities for over 30 years in student and employee matters under Title IX, including Office for Civil Rights (OCR) program compliance reviews, investigations, and policy and due process procedure development. As vice chair of Barnes and Thornburg’s Higher Education practice group, Lawless is devoted to representing colleges and universities in labor and employment matters, as well as student affairs, athletic program compliance, internal investigations, tenure denial disputes, and facility and program accessibility issues. His most notable work includes directing a major public university's response to a comprehensive U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Title IX sexual violence compliance review, and separately, developing his client’s strategy in response to the anticipated expiration of a student’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.

As principal of Temperance Legal Group LLC, Truszkowski practices in the area of emerging Title IX law and serves as the lead counsel in cutting-edge federal court litigation. Her
current cases include representing sexual assault victims at Michigan State University and school districts throughout the state of Michigan. Previously, Truszkowski served as magistrate for the 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills, legal counsel with UAW Legal Services in Dearborn and Saline and continued her work in private practice, establishing case law and legal precedent in a variety of areas.

The public is invited to hear panelists discuss what these changes could mean, and how to understand your rights, responsibilities, and resources regarding gender discrimination. Reservations are required and can be made at lawreview@cooley.edu.

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