Curious about a few things, mostly about a situation I’m hearing about.

First. I’ve been hearing about a situation where a faculty member harassed/assaulted multiple students (inappropriate comments, groping students, some of which was in public where there were witness). Initially there was one student who told someone else, who then reported it. This student was told by either the department, or the university’s Title IX office, that 1) that she had to comply with and go on record in an official investigation, and 2) because of the investigation, she was not allowed to tell anyone about the harassment, and that if she did it would be grounds for expulsion from the graduate program. Another student came forward later with similar allegations, and was told the same thing.

My question—is this legal? I would think if they kicked someone out of the program for that, it would be retaliation and grounds for a lawsuit. Though I imagine just the threat would probably be enough to keep graduate students quiet.

Second (tangentially related). If there are multiple allegations of harassment that span different places (ie conferences, research sites, former institutions), is there any benefit for reporting to a university Title IX? Or is it just something where they’ll throw up their hands and be like, meh, didn’t happen on university grounds so we don’t care?