December 14, 2015

Office for Civil Rights Names Diane Henson as New Director for Region 1

Holland & Knight Alert
Philip J. Catanzano

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has named Diane Henson to serve as the Regional Director for its Region I office, which covers the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

Regional Director Henson joins the OCR staff for New England after a lengthy legal career spent largely in Texas. In 2006, she was elected to the Texas Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Austin, a position that she held until 2012. She has described her judicial philosophy as pragmatic and logical. Before and after her term as an appellate judge, Henson was in private practice at several law firms in Austin. She was a trial attorney earlier in her career with the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section in Washington, D.C. She has also held numerous leadership positions in various bar associations in Texas, and she has taught as an adjunct law professor at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, and at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin.

Based on publicly available information, Henson has shown a significant interest in collegiate athletics throughout her career. Prior to her election to the bench in 2006, she represented both student athletes and coaches in matters against the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), the University of Texas System, the Texas A&M University System, and state athletic conferences. These matters involved, among other issues, the athletic program's compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as various NCAA and athletic association rules.

Duncan Leaving Department of Education by End of December

In related news, Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education who announced his departure from the Department in October, will be formally departing by the end of December. He will be replaced by Acting Deputy Secretary of Education John King Jr.

Phil Catanzano is a member of Holland & Knight's Education Team, as well as its Collegiate Athletics Team. Holland & Knight will continue to monitor developments from the U.S. Department of Education and can advise educational institutions on these and other matters related to their athletic programs, including Title IX and NCAA compliance.

Information contained in this alert is for the general education and knowledge of our readers. It is not designed to be, and should not be used as, the sole source of information when analyzing and resolving a legal problem. Moreover, the laws of each jurisdiction are different and are constantly changing. If you have specific questions regarding a particular fact situation, we urge you to consult competent legal counsel.

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