Students accused of sexual misconduct are often presumed guilty from the start. If you’re facing accusations and disciplinary action under Title IX, you may be worried about several things:

  • How can I prove that I’m innocent?
  • What types of punishment could I face?
  • Will this affect my ability to get a job?
  • Could I face criminal charges too?
  • Can a lawyer help with my disciplinary hearing?

Our Illinois Title IX defense lawyers can help you understand your legal rights after being accused of sexual misconduct.

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In colleges and universities throughout the United States, students are protected from sexual discrimination by a federal law called Title IX. Implemented in 1972, this law states that “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.” Over the past couple of decades, Title IX has been used to handle cases of alleged sexual misconduct between college students.

While Title IX is intended to protect students from sexual misconduct and discrimination, sometimes students accused of sexual misconduct are treated unfairly and without due process. Because these schools can lose their federal funding for violating Title IX, university officials often push to find accused students responsible for any accusation, sometimes without looking at all of the evidence. The consequences of being found responsible can severely limit your future, including penalties like:

  • Suspension or expulsion
  • A permanent mark for sexual misconduct on your college transcript
  • Possible criminal charges
  • A tarnished reputation as a sexual predator
  • Difficulty finding employment after graduation

If you’ve recently been accused of sexual misconduct, you should be aware that the deck may be stacked against you. We highly advise speaking with an experienced Illinois Title IX defense lawyer, who can represent you through all aspects of the disciplinary process and work to prove your innocence.

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Title IX Guidelines For Federally Funded Schools

Title IX has several specific guidelines which federally-funded schools must follow when investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, including:

  • Appointing and identifying a Title IX coordinator, and explaining their roles and responsibilities.
  • Identifying who conducts the investigation and what the investigation may entail.
  • Specify a reasonably prompt time for conducting the investigation and resolving the complaint, along with the process for extending the time limit.
  • Explain the processes for preserving evidence.
  • Provide the accused and accuser with equal rights during the investigation.
  • Specify a framework for what information may and may not be shared with law enforcement
  • Outline steps the school can take to protect accusers during the investigation, such as changing housing or dining facilities, work schedules, and academic schedules; withdrawing from classes without penalties; access to academic support; the option to issue no-contact orders, and changing the alleged perpetrators housing or course schedule
  • Explain how the school will respond if the alleged victim’s request for confidentiality limits the school’s ability to investigate the complaint. Schools may be permitted to limit and prevent sexual misconduct by increasing monitoring, supervision, or security at locations or activities where the alleged sexual misconduct occurred; providing training and educational materials for students and employees, revising and publicizing the school’s sexual misconduct policies; and conducting surveys regarding sexual misconduct.

These schools are also required to meet certain requirements during the grievance and adjudication process, such as:

  • Explain the grievance and adjudication process, including; specifying that mediation is never appropriate in these cases; that the preponderance of evidence (i.e., more likely than not) will be used to evaluate complaints, rather than reasonable doubt; identifying the adjudicators and the persons who may attend or participate in the adjudication process.
  • Outline the roles of both parties, including: notice of hearing to both parties; an opportunity for both parties to present witnesses and evidence; explain the possible penalties for offenders and accommodation for victims; outline how both parties will be informed of the results of the adjudication; describe the appellate process (if appeals are permitted)

While these guidelines are still listed on the Department of Justice’s website, some of them have changed as a result of the new “Dear Colleague Letter” issued in September 2017.

Changes Under The New “Dear Colleague Letter” university of illinois laboratory

The Department of Education has reversed the April 2011 Dear Colleague Letter issued under President Obama, including more flexibility during investigations of sexual misconduct. Some of these changes include:

  • The option to use the preponderance of evidence standard or the convincing evidence standard
  • The option to allow appeals by the accused student or by both parties
  • The option to conduct informal resolution, such as mediation, if both parties agree
  • The requirement to provide written notice to the accused student, including details of the allegations and with adequate time to prepare a response before an initial interview
  • The recommendation to provide concurrent, written notice of the outcome of the disciplinary process to both parties

We Represent Students From All Illinois Universities

Our Illinois Title IX defense lawyers represent students from schools throughout the state, including:

  • Chicago State University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Governors State University
  • Illinois State University
  • Northeastern Illinois University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Southern Illinois University
  • University of Illinois
  • Western Illinois University
  • American Islamic College
  • Augustana College
  • Blackburn College
  • Columbia College Chicago
  • Elmhurst College
  • Eureka College
  • Illinois College
  • Knox College
  • Lake Forest College
  • Lakeview College of Nursing
  • Lincoln College (Illinois)
  • MacCormac College
  • MacMurray College
  • Monmouth College
  • Moody Bible Institute
  • North Central College
  • Principia College
  • Saint Anthony College of Nursing
  • Shimer College
  • Trinity Christian College
  • Trinity International University
  • VanderCook College of Music
  • Wheaton College
  • Aurora University
  • Benedictine University
  • Bradley University
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
  • University of Chicago
  • Concordia University Chicago
  • DePaul University
  • Dominican University
  • East–West University
  • Erikson Institute
  • Greenville University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Judson University
  • Lewis University
  • Lincoln Christian University
  • Lindenwood University-Belleville
  • Loyola University Chicago
  • Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
  • McKendree University
  • Midwestern University
  • Millikin University
  • National Louis University
  • National University of Health Sciences
  • North Park University
  • Northern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Northwestern University
  • Olivet Nazarene University
  • Quincy University
  • Robert Morris University
  • Rockford University
  • Roosevelt University
  • Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science
  • Rush University
  • University of St. Francis
  • Saint Xavier University
  • School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership
  • Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago
  • Trinity International University

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