Brett Sokolow, president and chief executive of the NCHERM Group, which advises institutions on issues related to security and sexual assault, among other topics, said that blanket student indemnification due to all those concerns remains “an idea being floated, not a trend.” He didn’t know of any campuses offering it.
Why “should the university cover the costs of an independent third party’s choice to sue?” Sokolow said, noting that the university “does not and cannot” control whether a faculty member takes action in an attempt clear his or her name. The “problem” with indemnification remains that “while most such defamation actions are baseless, some are in fact the accused person’s only chance to vindicate themselves and clear their names from a false accusation,” he said.
Sokolow also said indemnification could make institutions more legally vulnerable down the line. “The question for me is if a victim prevails in a defamation suit, can she then bring additional charges internal to the institution alleging that the suit was retaliatory?” he asked. “I would imagine so.”