Educational institutions that receive any form of federal funding, are required to comply with the federal law Title IX. It prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in colleges and universities and reinforces the fact that every person, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, national origin, or gender identity is entitled the right to be free from gender-based discrimination. Colleges and universities in compliance with Title IX are required to handle all complaints that could potentially constitute as a Title IX violation under the school's code of conduct. The managing of these complaints entails the school to investigate, reprimand and imposing sanctions against students found responsible for allegations of misconduct.
If you are a student who has been accused of violating your school's sexual misconduct policy - one of the most damaging and severe violations in most schools - you should be aware of what you're up against. It's important you understand that schools have immense pressure placed upon them to approach sexual misconduct complaints aggressively and promptly. Therefore, you must prepare to take the appropriate steps to defend yourself. Here is a brief overview of Widener University - Delaware Campus' Title IX process.
The Title IX Process
A person who appears to be a victim in a complaint is known as a “complainant,” while alleged offenders in these complaints are known as “respondents.” Anyone belonging to Widener's community is encouraged to notify the campus' Title IX coordinator of alleged occurrences of sexual misconduct, however, responsible employees are obligated to make a report once they receive notification of such misconduct.
Following receipt of a notice or a report of misconduct, a Title IX coordinator, or their designee, will engage in a preliminary inquiry in an effort to determine if any policies have actually been violated. During preliminary inquiries, which typically last a period of 1 to 3 days, the Title IX coordinator will review whether there is violence, threats, patterns, predation, and/or any type of weapon was evidenced. If not, no action may be taken. But if there is evidence of any of these factors, or more, the university may proceed to the next step, which is a formal investigation.
A Title IX coordinator will appoint internal or external investigators to expeditiously conduct an investigation. The average time it takes for investigators to complete an investigation is 10 days, but it may take longer depending on the nature, extent, and complexity of the allegations. The availability of all parties will also dictate the time it takes for an investigation to be completed.
At the conclusion of an investigation, the Title IX coordinator will review the findings and determine whether there is reasonable cause to proceed with the resolution process. In the event that the findings indicate reasonable case, the allegations will be solved through one of two methods: conflict resolution or administrative resolution.
Conflict resolution: used for less serious, yet inappropriate behaviors. During conflict resolution sessions, a trained administrator will facilitate dialogue between parties to come to an effective resolution, if possible.
Administrative resolution: a resolution administrator will be appointed to address all collateral misconduct, meaning that they will hear all allegations of sexual misconduct, and consider all evidence that is proposed by either complainants and respondents. After each side is heard, based on the preponderance of evidence, the administrator will make a determination. Each party will be notified within three days of the resolution.
All request for appeals must be made within three days of notification of the written determination. An extension on the filing deadline may be granted at the discretion of the Title IX coordinator. In order for an appeal to be considered, it must contain evidence of the following elements:
- A procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the resolution process
- The sanctions imposed fall outside the realm of sanctions the university has designated for offenses under its policy
- There is new, unknown, or unavailable evidence that has surfaced that could substantially impact the original determination
Title IX Advisor
Due to state and federal laws, you, as a respondent are given the freedom to choose anyone you would like to be your advisor. Selecting an attorney to accompany you through your school's Title IX processes is critical. An attorney has the experience and legal expertise to help you collect evidence that is useful to your case, and gather witnesses that support your account of events. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has successfully guided people in your predicament to victory. Contact him today for help.
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 Delaware and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help