If you have been accused of sexual misconduct at your school, you will have to undergo specific processes under your school's policy. In order to receive a favorable outcome, you need to be aware of what you're up against, and the options your school provides you in the midst of these processes. For the purposes of this article, we will address the Title IX processes at the University of Phoenix - DC Campus.
The Title IX Process
Those who file a complaint regarding sexual misconduct or are the victim in a complaint are known as “complainants,” while alleged offenders are known as “respondents.” Once a school receives word of an occurrence, the Title IX process will immediately be initiated.
An investigation will be conducted by members of the Title IX team or other individuals specifically trained in these procedures. The investigation, which can last no more than 60 days under school policy, will entail interviews with complainants, respondents, witnesses and other people who may have knowledge of the situation at hand. Information that is relevant to a case, like text messages, emails, content on social media platforms, and any other forms of communication or documentation will be assessed during this process. Once the investigation period has concluded, the investigators will come up with findings that determine whether or not a violation occurred.
If the findings indicate that it is likely that Title IX has been violated, these findings will be shared with all parties. A respondent is given the choice to either admit to committing the violation or outright denying them. If the allegations are denied, a hearing will be scheduled as soon as possible for a final determination.
In a hearing, both sides of a case will be presented. Both the complainant(s) and respondent(s) will be allocated the same amount of time to make a statement, bring witnesses, and present evidence to a panel. It's important to note that respondents are not allowed to include the sexual history of a complainant. Evidence that points to a previous consensual sexual relationship does not imply consent or preclude a finding of sexual misconduct.
At the University of Phoenix, a panel is comprised of a faculty member and two other staff members. Once both sides have made their case, these panel members will come to a decision using the preponderance of evidence standard of proof.
Both complainants and respondents are granted the opportunity to have an advisor accompany them throughout a hearing, however, they are not allowed to intervene during the hearing in any way.
If a student is found responsible for sexual misconduct, he or she has the option of appealing this determination. However, there must be a good reason or grounds for doing so. A respondent has the option to appeal an outcome if he or she alleges any of the following:
- A procedural error has occurred,
- New information exists that would substantially change the outcome of the finding, or
- The sanction is disproportionate to the violation
Students must request an appeal by submitting a written statement to the Office of Dispute Management within 10 days of the determination.
Title IX Advisor
During these processes, you are allowed to choose anyone you'd like to be your advisor. It would be in your best interest to choose an attorney to help you build a solid defense in a hearing. Contact skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento today for assistance.
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead, prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor to students facing disciplinary cases in Washington, D.C. and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help.