When it comes to the handling of sexual misconduct allegations at a college or university, the one thing that should be clear is that any investigation or decision reached by the school has come about fairly.
Yet, in recent years, judges have issued over 30 rulings against New York colleges and universities for neglecting to provide due process for defendants in many cases, a situation that has resulted in potentially unfair outcomes for many.
All Parties Should Have an Expectation of Fairness
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school that receives federal funding. Sexual harassment cases at colleges and universities fall underneath Title IX.
When schools hand down rulings in these cases, they're expected to consider the facts fairly and without bias, a practice known as “due process”. In spite of this, state and federal judges have found that many schools deny defendant students their due process.
When it comes to due process and Title IX cases, there is an expectation that students receive timely notice of the allegations levied against them. Students should also have access to a fair and impartial investigation and trial, they should be presumed innocent when the investigation begins, and they should have a right to appeal the decisions made by the school.
Top Schools in New York State Had Rulings Against Them
There are 16 universities and colleges in New York State that have had rulings issued against them by the courts regarding their judicial decisions in Title IX cases. Judges have ruled that the following schools violated students' rights to due process and important Title IX obligations.
- Syracuse University has had the most with 6 decisions
- Columbia University, Cornell University and SUNY Purchases have had 3 decisions each
- Colgate, RPI, Hobart, William Smith, and SUNY Stony Brook have had 2 decisions each
- Hofstra, Hamilton, New York University, John Fisher College, SUNY Albany, SUNY Cortland, and the United State Merchant Marine Academy have had 1 decision each
The Rulings Against the Schools Send a Message
The rulings against the schools in these cases are not intended to allow guilty parties to get away with bad behavior. The rulings are intended to send a message to schools that all students need to have their rights protected when it comes to campus-based Title IX hearings and investigations. It's the only way that the process can be fair for everyone.
Work With an Attorney Who Will Protect Your Rights
Many students accused of sexual misconduct underestimate just how badly a judgment of “guilty” handed down by the school can negatively affect their future. If they're dealing with a sexual misconduct allegation, they'll have to go before the school's conduct committees to defend themselves.
A negative outcome that results in sanctions for the accused student could be devastating to that student's future prospects. When the investigations themselves have been handled poorly by the schools, it especially puts respondent students at risk of losing everything.
Colleges and Universities Use All of the Resources Available to Them During Title IX Investigations
Schools use all resources available to them during Title IX investigation. So should you.
If you've been accused of sexual misconduct on or off campus, you should be ready with a vigorous defense as well. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have unparalleled experience working with students dealing with Title IX issues in New York and nationwide. Call 888-535-3686 so that you are ready to provide yourself with the best defense possible.