Title IX: Have You Been Accused Of Sexual Misconduct On Campus?

Title IX: Have You Been Accused Of Sexual Misconduct On Campus?2018-09-19T16:52:03+00:00

You've likely found our page because you've been informed that you are now part of a Title IX sexual misconduct investigation and you are wondering:

  • Will this end my college career?
  • Who is the Title IX Coordinator?
  • Why is the hearing taking place so soon?
  • How do I defend myself?

Our team is here to help answer your questions and support you during this difficult time.

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As anyone who has attended a college understands, this time in a young adult's life is special. During this period, lifelong friendships will be formed, passions will be discovered, and students will pursue a field of study which will help them start a career.

It’s also a time where students are off on their own and they are frequently placed in situations they’ve never experienced before. While some of these experiences are good, others can be stressful, upsetting, and if the student is in the wrong place at the wrong time, their reputation and academic record could be put at risk.

One situation that no one wants to find themselves in is being accused of sexual misconduct.

Title IX & Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Title IX is federal legislation that sets standards on how academic institutions that receive federal funding handle accusations of sexual misconduct and sexual discrimination.

The initial language used in Title IX was rather broad, specifically statute 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a) which states:

students who may face title IX allegations

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

However, over time, additional significant guidance materials like the “Dear Colleague Letter” have been created which have created a system through which sexual assault is approached.

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Dear Colleague Guidelines

These guidelines require schools to address “hostile educational environments” and if they fail to do so, they risk losing their federal funding. Under Title IX, schools must:

  • Designate specific personnel to handle allegations of sexual assault.
  • Provide both parties with access to the same resources such as advisors, evidence presentation, and appeals processes).
  • Have a standard of evidence that is “more likely than not” or “preponderance of evidence”.
  • Put measures into place that protect those who have filed a complaint from retaliation.
  • Provide a speedy resolution.

Unfortunately, because of a fear of losing federal funding, schools often push to place blame on the accused party, also known as the respondent, as quickly as possible, often even before any criminal charges have been filed. Without help, the respondent may not have enough time to prove their case and may face serious consequences.

What Consequences Do Students Of Sexual Misconduct Face?

Until the issue has been resolved, the respondent may be prevented from attending classes or school activities if they share those in common with the person who has made the allegations. Ultimately, they also face marks on their academic records and transcripts, as well as suspension or expulsion. This may impact their ability to obtain a degree and employment in the future.

What Is Disciplinary Process Like?

part of a college campusThe exact disciplinary process varies from school to school, however, typically it concludes with a hearing before a committee. This is when the evidence will be presented and the outcome of the case will be decided. Usually, this hearing occurs within 60 days of when the sexual misconduct was reported, leaving the accused with little time to understand what is happening and to prepare.

What Does Preponderance Of Evidence Mean?

Most people are familiar with the phrases “innocent until proven guilty” and “beyond a reasonable doubt”. This means that in criminal court, those presenting the case must show that the person who has been accused of a crime committed that crime and there can be no doubt that they didn’t.

In civil court and before a Title IX school hearing, the preponderance of evidence takes place. This means that plaintiff must only show that there is a greater than 50% chance that the respondent did what they are being accused of.

Does Title IX Apply To International & Undocumented Students?

Absolutely. All students that attend a school which receives federal funding are covered under Title IX, regardless of their national origin or citizenship status. This includes the respondent.

Yes, A Lawyer Can Help

Nearly all schools allow a lawyer to attend the Title IX hearing and it’s very important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Together with the respondent, the attorney will use their many resources to investigate the allegations, collect evidence, and build a defense. With a lawyer by their side, the respondent has a much better chance at saving their academic career and professional future.

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