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Are Toxicology Experts Allowed in Title IX Hearings?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Apr 21, 2020 | 0 Comments

It is no secret that a large number of sexual assault allegations on college campuses involve the use of alcohol. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and in some cases even incapacitates parties to the alleged incident.

While many of the students, faculty, and staff that take part in student discipline hearings are familiar with alcohol and its effects, the science behind intoxication is complex. Alcohol impacts each of us differently, making it difficult to pinpoint the degree of a person's intoxication by noting the number of drinks they have consumed.

Despite the complexities of how alcohol interacts with the human body, student discipline boards routinely weigh in on whether they believe one or both of the parties in a Title IX hearing was intoxicated or not. This unscientific approach puts accused students at risk of discipline even when they have done nothing wrong.

When Intoxication is a Matter of Degrees

Fair or not, many of the student discipline committees hearing Title IX claims will want to compare the level of intoxication between the involved parties. In many cases, greater weight may be given to the more-intoxicated individual unless this concern is effectively challenged. The problem is that the students and staff that sit on these committees rarely have the scientific background to fully grasp the complexities of intoxication.

What's more, the evidence regarding a student's intoxication is often second-hand at best. While the discipline board might hear testimony from witnesses regarding how many drinks a person had or their outward signs of intoxication, it is unlikely that they will have the chance to review toxicology reports or hear from an expert.

Toxicology Experts in a Title IX Hearing

When effectively presented, colleges and universities may allow an accused student to arrange for testimony from an expert in toxicology. This testimony can be crucial whether or not the student submitted to a blood alcohol concentration test at the time of the alleged incident. An expert could review the allegations, offering explanations on how in some cases the allegations were impossible. For example, an expert could provide a thorough explanation if toxicology reports showed the accused student was too intoxicated or incapacitated to consent to sexual activity in their own right.

The problem for most students is that these experts do not come cheap. When students that lack financial support are accused, they are not afforded the right to consult with an expert. Instead, they are forced to leave these complex scientific issues in the hands of their fellow students and members of the faculty. 

How Attorney Joseph D. Lento Could Help

The lack of access to toxicology experts in Title IX hearings is only one aspect of the process that tips the scale against the accused. Thankfully, experienced legal counsel could help a student accused of wrongdoing under Title IX fight back against their allegations.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento defends those accused of Title IX violations nationwide. He has the experience necessary to assist you with developing a strong defense based on the facts of your case. To learn more about your options, Call 888-535-3686 or contact him online to schedule a consultation 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.

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