Are Live Hearings Required Under New Title IX Rules?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

Under the Obama-era Title IX guidelines, colleges and universities had the option to make use of live hearings when adjudicating complaints of sexual assault or harassment. Under the new Title IX rules that go into effect on August 14, 2020, these hearings are now mandatory. What's more, the rights enjoyed by the accused during these hearings have also been expanded.

If you are facing the possibility of student discipline, your defense could benefit from the requirement of a live hearing in your case. By hearing from you directly, the parties charged with determining if you violated school rules could be more likely to understand your side of the story. To learn more about how a live hearing could impact your case, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento as soon as possible.

Live Hearings Under Title IX

Mandatory live hearings are only one part of the sweeping rule changes that the Department of Education is undertaken. However, it is a major change that might help protect your due process rights. Under the previous rules, a school policy could lead to your case being decided without ever getting to be heard – or to challenge the person that has accused you.

Now, every college and university must set up a live hearing during every grievance. A trained hearing officer will oversee the proceedings, and their role in this new process is important. That is because these rules now allow cross-examination of witnesses during the live hearing. The rules of cross-examination are more restrictive compared to a criminal proceeding, with much leeway given to the hearing officer.

One major difference is that each question must be screened by the hearing officer before it can be asked. The hearing officer must determine if the question is relevant. If they decide it is not, it may not be asked of the student. By default, questions about a party's sexual history are considered irrelevant unless the question establishes consent or another possible perpetrator.

There are even strict limitations on who can ask the questions. Students may not cross-examine each other directly. Instead, all questioning must be handled by an advisor or attorney. With this rule change, the guidance of legal counsel experienced in student defense is vital. Every student must have an advisor, but they have the right to select one of their choosing – including a lawyer.

How “Live” is a Live Hearing?

While these hearings must be held live, the new Title IX regulations give schools leeway in how they handle them. For example, hearings may be heard remotely similar to those held during the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools may also take special measures to avoid unnecessary conflict. For example, the school may grant the request of a party to participate remotely from a separate room in the same building instead of sharing a room with the other party.

These changes might have a major impact on how you approach your defense strategy. However, you should never take on your defense without the guidance of an attorney. If you are facing a student disciplinary complaint, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento online or call (888) 535-3686 today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!


If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.