People

Melissa M. Carleton

Melissa Carleton advises higher education entities in a variety of areas, including student affairs, student conduct, disability accommodations, student confidentiality, policies, contracts, governance and employment matters. Melissa takes a practical and proactive approach to legal issues. She particularly enjoys working on collaborative matters between educational entities.

Melissa has a great deal of experience in guiding the institutional response to allegations of sexual abuse. She regularly works with colleges, universities, career-technical schools, and K-12 school districts to comply with Title IX and, where applicable, the Clery Act, as well as implementing guidance and regulations. Melissa is available to conduct impartial investigations, as well as to provide reviews of policies, procedures, and case files from a neutral perspective. Melissa trains administrators, staff members, and other investigators using real-world examples to help learn how to navigate the trickiest situations with regard to sexual misconduct. More information on investigator training can be found in our Title IX Resource Center.

Melissa also works with religious entities to address allegations of sexual abuse in a manner that is respectful of the parties and their privacy, is transparent and fair, and is attentive to both the religious beliefs and the safety needs of the community.

"Melissa Carleton is a top-notch attorney. Her knowledge of the law is vast and deep. Melissa responds to all of my questions swiftly and thoroughly, which is not an easy task. I value her opinion and trust her implicitly. "

Samantha Hughes, Kenyon College, as quoted in Best Law Firms, 2018

Professional & Community Activities

  • Member, National Association of College and University Attorneys
  • Member, National School Boards Association Council of School Attorneys
  • Member, Ohio Association of College and University Business Officers
  • Member, Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys

Presentations & Published Works

  • Scheduled to Present, "Down the Rabbit Hole: Entering the World of Student Mental Health and Threat Assessment," National Association of College and University Attorneys, June 2019
  • Presenter, "The Business Implications of Title IX," Ohio Association of College and University Business Officials Annual Meeting, April 2019
  • Presenter, “Policies and Procedures regarding Sexual Abuse of Minors,” Leadership Conference of Women Religious Region 6, March 2019
  • Presenter, “Title IX Litigation Update,” Legal Issues and Student Affairs Drive-In, Oberlin College, February 2019
  • Presenter, “Webinar: Overview of Submitted Comments to the Proposed Title IX Regulations: Perspectives for Higher Education,” February 2019
  • Presenter, “Webinar: Changing Standards – Is Preponderance Right for Your Campus?” Ohio Department of Higher Education, February 2019
  • Presenter, Civil Rights Coordination and Investigation Training for K-12 School Administrators, December 2018
  • Presenter, “Webinar: Title IX Proposed Regulations – Hot Takes for K-12 Administrators,” December 2018
  • Presenter, “Webinar: Title IX Proposed Regulations – Hot Takes for Higher Ed,” November 2018
  • Presenter, “Webinar: Title IX & Due Process: Case Law Updates,” Ohio Department of Higher Education, November 2018
  • Presenter, Two-Day Title IX Investigator Training Workshop, Michigan State University, October 2018
  • Presenter, Two-Day Title IX Investigator Training Workshop, The Ohio State University, October 2018
  • Presenter, Civil Rights Coordination and Investigation Training for K-12 School Administrators, September 2018
  • Presenter, Civil Rights Coordination and Investigation Training for K-12 School Administrators, Bowling Green City School District, August 2018
  • Presenter, “The State of Civil Rights,” Ohio Associate for Career and Technical Education, July 2018
  • Presenter, Two-Day Title IX Investigator Training and Advanced Discussion Workshop, Five Colleges of Ohio, August 2018
  • Presenter, Association for Student Conduct Administration Ohio Drive-In, Oberlin College, June 2018
  • Presenter, Civil Rights Coordination and Investigation Training for K-12 School Administrators, June 2018
  • Presenter, Two-Day Title IX Investigator Training Workshop, University of Findlay, May 2018
  • Presenter, Student Handbook Bootcamp – Higher Ed, March 2018

Bar Admissions & Activities

  • Member, Admissions Committee, Columbus Bar Association
  • Participant, Columbus Bar Association Barrister Leadership Program, 2012
  • Member, Columbus Bar Association

Awards & Recognition

  • Rising Star, Ohio Super Lawyers (Schools & Education), 2018–2019

Education

  • University of Pennsylvania (J.D., 2009), James Wilson Scholar; Associate Editor, Journal of Constitutional Law
  • The Ohio State University (Bachelor of Music Education, magna cum laude, 2002), School of Music Undergraduate Outstanding Achievement Award
Queen of All Trades
Queen of All Trades

Melissa loves genealogy, reading, art projects that do not require any skill or talent, and listening to classic rock — especially Queen. In her spare time, she volunteers with the Girl Scouts, teaches Sunday School, and sings in her church choir. Melissa lives with her husband, also an attorney, and their two children in Upper Arlington, Ohio.