College is a pivotal time in your life when you will establish lifelong friendships, learn about yourself, and take the first steps towards the start of your career. But there is nothing that will ruin your college experience like allegations of misconduct. In cases when these allegations entail sexual misconduct - one of the most serious violations one could be facing - the effects of merely being accused can be incredibly damaging to a student's reputation and standing in the educational community. Even if you don't believe that you did anything wrong, or know that you've been falsely accused, the reality is that the odds are stacked against you. Associates, friends, colleagues, and organizations will disassociate themselves from you in fear of condoning such behavior, while members of society will immediately assume your guilt before you even get a chance to defend yourself.
This is why it's important that you gain a clear and comprehensive understanding of how your school will approach your case, and the Title IX procedures you'll be obligated to undergo in light of your allegations. Also, the more quickly you realize the value of an attorney in cases where so much is at stake, the better the likelihood of receiving a favorable outcome in court. For the purposes of this article, we will provide a brief overview of Bowie State University's Title IX policy.
Title IX Process
Filing a report
Students, employees and third parties are strongly encouraged to formally report alleged sexual misconduct to a responsible employee, to the coordinator of Student Contact, or directly to a Title IX coordinator. The alleged victim in a claim is referred to as a “complainant,” while an alleged offender is known as a “respondent.” Once a higher education institution receives word of the perceived incident of sexual misconduct, the school must immediately launch its Title IX investigative process of complaints against students.
The administrative investigative process
The investigative process is broken down into several categories.
Determination of administrative investigation
Upon notice of potential sexual misconduct, a Title IX will determine if there is enough sufficient basis for an administrative investigation. In order to do so, a coordinator will consider factors, such as the seriousness of the alleged misconduct, the impacted person's age, and the respondents history of misconduct.
Once a report is filed, a school is required to impose interim measures and make accommodations to protect a complainant from potential retaliation. Depending on the nature of a case, interim measures imposed against respondents may include alternative employment arrangements, leave or withdrawals from campus, housing reassignments, a no-contact order, removal from the university community etc.
The final step of the administrative investigative process is the formal investigation. This process entails reviewing all the materials and evidence collected during this process to write up an investigative report. If the findings indicate that a respondent is not responsible, the process will cease and another form of conflict resolution on campus will be utilized. However, if the findings suggest that a respondent is guilty of the alleged sexual misconduct, and he or she disagrees with this determination, a hearing will be scheduled.
The Conduct Board (comprised of board members trained in the school's sexual misconduct policy) will be in charge of the hearing, which is guaranteed by the school to be “prompt, fair and impartial.” Both parties will be able to present their account of events through a statement, the presentation of witnesses and in some cases, a cross-examination. Once both parties have told their story, the board will deliberate and come up with a determination.
In the event that a respondent is found guilty for the instance of sexual misconduct, he or she has the opportunity to appeal this decision or get school authorities to reconsider their case. An appeal for Bowie State is only granted when there is evidence of a procedural or substantive error that significantly impacted the outcome of a hearing, and/or when new evidence that could have substantially impacted a sanction/determination was not accessible at the time of a hearing. The school allows respondents to file an appeal within 10 business days of a determination.
Title IX Advisor
Both federal and state law allow you to choose anyone you would like to be your advisor. Contrary to what some may people would argue, selecting an attorney is the best option for you if you wish to receive a favorable outcome. The right attorney will have extensive experience helping students like you gather evidence, interview witnesses, and present an effective final statement. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has assisted countless students who have been in your shoes. 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 Maryland and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help