What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that essentially prohibits discriminatory acts on the basis of gender committed by or against students, staff, and faculty in federally funded educational institutions. It provides the following:
“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.”
It's safe to say that through the application of Title IX, gender equity has drastically increased amongst higher education institutions throughout the years. However, many people believe that educational institutions still have a while to go when it comes to sexual misconduct and gender inequality on college and university campuses.
Title IX and Sexual Misconduct
According to Title IX, sexual misconduct in all of its forms - sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape etc. - is considered gender-based discrimination. Therefore, schools in compliance with this law are obligated to handle reported cases of any of these behaviors. In prior years, schools had a reputation of disregarding these accusations for many reasons. In some instances, school authorities, staff and panel members felt that they weren't adequately trained to mitigate the emotional trauma and conflict that inherently accompanies sexual misconduct allegations. Schools have become so accustomed to handling academic crimes, such as plagiarizing and stealing, that they didn't feel they were equipped with the tools to handle sex-related conflicts. Schools also swept these allegations under the rug in fear of tarnishing their crime-free facade that they've worked hard to maintain. They know that students are less inclined to go to a school that appears to be unsafe.
But in 2001, the Department of Education issued a letter that invoked many education institutions to change their approach. The statement warned federally funded institutions that if reported cases of sexual misconduct are not handled in a fashion that is “prompt and equitable,” they could lose federal funding. In a seemingly simultaneous act, students who felt their accusations were neglected imposed their own consequences on higher education institutions by suing them for large sums of money. In an extreme reactionary response to these looming threats, schools began approaching these cases aggressively and hastily in an attempt to appease accusers and the DOE. But in the process of this new approach, the accused has been disadvantaged and ignored.
Choosing an Attorney as Your Title IX Advisor
Unfortunately, schools do not always follow the rules. As a result of this reality, there is an abundance of forces that are pitted against you as an accused student. This is why you should make the most of your freedom to choose anyone you would like as an advisor. In order to defend yourself in a way that is effective, you should choose an attorney as your advisor. Legal professionals have expertise and skills acquired through trial experience that you will need to learn in the midst of these processes. Accused students are expected to make a statement to a Title IX coordinator, gather and interview witnesses and basically present themselves in a hearing (since advisors are not allowed to object in hearings). A skilled and experienced attorney does these things for a living and will be able to provide you with insightful advice to maximize the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
Experienced Alaska Title IX Advisor
If you attend an Alaska college or university and have been accused of sexual misconduct, you should immediately consult with a professional dedicated to protecting your interests. Skilled Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento is here to help you every step of the way. Contact him today.
Alaska colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Alaska Bible College
- Alaska Pacific University
- Charter College Anchorage
- Ilisagvik College
- Prince William Sound Community College
- University of Alaska Anchorage
- University of Alaska Fairbanks
- University of Alaska Southeast
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 and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in Alaska and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.