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Doesn’t Title IX Handle Equality In Athletics?
Yes, it does, however, Title IX is a federal law which also prevents discrimination based on sex.
What Qualifies As Discrimination Based On Sex?
Under Title IX, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape are all situations that would make a person feel as though they are unable to safely participate in school programs.
Does Starting A Title IX Investigation Also Start Criminal Proceedings?
No, just because a report has been made to the school doesn’t mean that the police will press criminal charges. Whatever happens in a criminal court is kept completely separate from the school’s Title IX proceedings.
What Is The OCR?
OCR stands for the Office of Civil Rights. This office not only provides that guidelines that schools need to follow until Title IX but they also help schools to comply with those guidelines.
Who Is The Respondent?
The respondent is the student who has been accused of campus sexual misconduct.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Told I’m Under A Title IX Investigation?
The best thing that any student who has been accused of sexual misconduct can do is remain respectfully silent. Then, as soon as possible, consult with an experienced attorney.
What Does The School Have To Provide The Respondent With?
Under Title IX, the school must provide all parties with the same resources. This includes access to advisors, evidence presentation, and information on the appeals process. In addition to this, the student as the right to:
- Hear a full description of any evidence the school has against them.
- Present their version of the incident to an impartial panel.
- Have a lawyer present during the hearing.
What Should I Expect During The Investigation?
In addition to being provided with resources, the respondent should expect that this entire process will be emotional and mentally stressful. Most people, including the school officials involved, will assume that you are guilty and even though the school is supposed to provide the necessary evidence, things frequently fall through the cracks. Working with an attorney is the best way to ensure that no stone is left unturned.
It’s also important to remember that this investigation will happen very quickly.
Why Does The Title IX Investigation Seem Rushed?
Under the law, if a school fails to handle any accusations of sexual misconduct, they risk losing their federal funding. This is the last thing any school wants to have happen so many push to resolve the matter as quickly as possible. The problem is, frequently the easier resolution is to push the blame onto the respondent with little regard for completing a full investigation. Any attorney will tell you that it takes time to perform a full investigation yet most schools require the hearing to take place within 60 days and often it happens even sooner.
Should I Talk To The Person Who Accused Me Of Sexual Misconduct?
Absolutely not. That may be seen as an attempt to intimidate the person who has accused you. In fact, a no contact order is often issued which means that the two parties cannot speak to one another without facing serious consequences.
Can The No Contact Order Really Keep Me From Going To Class?
Yes. If the respondent and their accuser take the same courses, the respondent may not be allowed back into the class until the matter is resolved. This can clearly impact a student’s grades and future at the college.
I’ve Been Told To Meet With The Title IX Coordinator. Who Is That?
Every school that receives federal funding must have a Title IX Coordinator. This is an employee who is responsible for overseeing all Title IX reports and handling those reports appropriately. Any student that has been accused of sexual misconduct will need to meet with the Title IX Coordinator after they have been informed of the allegations.
What Will The Title IX Hearing Be Like?
An experienced attorney can help prepare the respondent for the hearing, but typically, there will be:
- A Statement: This statement will detail the respondent’s version of events and their relationship with the accuser.
- Presentation of evidence.
- Questions: Each party has the right to ask questions of the other.
Every moment of the hearing is important which is why it’s so important to prepare in advance.
What Can Be Used As Evidence?
Practically anything can be used as evidence but it often includes:
- Text messages, emails, and phone calls made between the respondent and the accuser.
- Toxicity reports.
- Video surveillance.
- Witness statements.
If you can think of anything that may be helpful in supporting the case, it’s best to let an attorney know.
What Happens If I’m Found Guilty Under Title IX?
What many students don’t understand is that if they are found guilty the consequences may impact their entire future. Typically, students who are found guilty are suspended or expelled from the school. Not only does this leave a permanent mark on their academic record but they may not be accepted into another college which means that they may no longer be able to pursue their chosen career.
Is It Possible To Appeal A Decision?
Yes, it is possible to file an appeal. This appeal will actually go to the federal court system and is usually based on how the school handled the process. This may include issues such as failing to interview witnesses, failing to inform the student of their rights, and failing to properly investigate.
Should I Tell My Parents?
This is a very personal question and one we really can’t answer for you since every family is different. However, we will say that during this time, the student does better if they have a support system as they will likely be under an extreme amount of pressure. Parents, family, friends, and even a therapist can help to relieve some of this pressure.