Cooper Shattuck understands the overall organization and structure of colleges and universities. 

 

Having served as General Counsel for Alabama’s largest university and employer during one of the most challenging times for colleges and universities in the U.S., Cooper grasps the challenges facing universities today, such as Title IX, complaince, NCAA and athletics, governance, and risk management, and the importance of bringing process to the chaos, making him one of the most highly experienced higher education attorneys in Alabama. 

In his role as General Counsel of The University of Alabama System, Cooper advised the System’s Chancellor, Board, and other System and campus administrators on a full gamut of legal issues ranging from Title IX, compliance, NCAA and athletics to governance, risk management, and other higher education matters. 

Title IX


During Cooper’s tenure as General Counsel, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice, Congress, and the White House issued numerous forms of guidance including the Campus SAVE Act, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization, as well as several Dear Colleague letters. In addition to these mandates, there were countless high-profile Title IX cases at universities as well as inflamatory documentaries and news articles. The presence of all these put enormous pressures on universities to implement effective Title IX policies and conduct fair and equitable investigations, even though the mandates have not provided adequate guidance. Cooper now provides the following services in Title IX related matters:

  • Drafting, reviewing, and analyzing Title IX and sexual assault policies
  • Conducting, reviewing, and supervising Title IX and sexual assault investigations
  • Organizing and structuring Title IX offices and departments
  • Conducting Title IX training
  • Serving as counsel to students in Title IX matters, including university hearings and court proceedings




Compliance


As General Counsel, Cooper Shattuck worked closely with the System’s three campuses on their compliance with federal and state statutes as well as with SACS accreditation and compliance. In his private practice, Cooper has also assisted the Governor of Alabama, the Alabama Community College System, and the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS/COC) on policy issues. Cooper assists colleges and universities with compliance in the following areas:

  • Federal statutes such as ADA, VAWA, Title VI, Title VII, Title IX, HIPAA, FLSA, FMLA and FERPA
  • State statutes such as ethics, constitutional and statutory requirements, open meetings, open records, and student benefits
  • Compliance with SACS accreditation




NCAA & Athletics


As General Counsel for The University of Alabama System, Cooper managed NCAA matters for three diverse university athletics programs at The University of Alabama, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and The University of Alabama in Huntsville. From issues dealing with investigations and compliance to financial and contract issues, Cooper has experienced it all. Cooper assists colleges and universities with:

  • NCAA rules and regulations
  • NCAA investigations
  • NCAA compliance training
  • Drafting, reviewing, and analyzing NCAA and athletics compliance policies
  • Miscellaneous athletics issues (e.g. coaches contracts, hazing, Title IX, licensing, litigation)




Governance


As General Counsel, Cooper advised The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama on governance issues including, but not limited to, board members' duties and responsibilities, ethical obligations, conflicts of interest, searching, hiring, retention and compensation of senior leadership, SACS requirements, risk management, open meetings, crisis management, compliance strategies and structure, board structure, board make-up and tenure, and succession planning. Cooper advises college and university boards on:

  • Board structure, organization, management and strategies
  • Hiring and compensation of senior leadership
  • Board policies, ethics, and open meetings
  • Compliance with applicable rules and regulations




Risk Management


As General Counsel, Cooper assisted in the creation of the UA System’s first Office of Risk Management and worked closely with senior leadership in identifying and mitigating risks System-wide and for the individual campuses. To be effective, Cooper believes that risk management should be an integral strategy implemented throughout a university's structure, from the Board down to every department. Cooper advises colleges and universities on:

  • Drafting, reviewing and analyzing risk management policies
  • Implementing risk management strategies
  • Organizing risk mangement responsibilities
  • Identifying and mitigating risks




Hazing


The University of Alabama has one of the largest Greek student populations in the United States. As General Counsel, Cooper frequently dealt with issues regarding fraternities and sororities on campus. Cooper is experienced with managing hazing issues, structuring fraternities and sororities, and drafting fraternity and sorority policies and anti-hazing programs.




Discrimination


As General Counsel, Cooper played a crucial role in the desegregation of the The University of Alabama Greek system. He dealt not only with student discrimination issues, but also with faculty and staff discrimination issues.




Student Disciplinary Matters


With over 65,000 students in the UA System, Cooper had the opportunity to deal with a wide assortment of student disciplinary matters including, but not limited to, Title IX, sexual harassment, hazing, drug and alcohol issues, Student Code of Conduct violations, and academic misconduct.




Faculty & Staff Issues


With over 38,000 employees in the UA System, Cooper dealt with a wide assortment of issues including, but not limited to, research issues, commercialization of research activities, Faculty and Staff Handbook violations, promotion, compensation, and severance.





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