Brown University was founded back in 1764 in Providence, Rhode Island and now has an overall student enrollment exceeding 10,000. The institution seeks to maintain a community that is committed to “respect for the diversity of viewpoints” and promotes the “rights of all individuals to express ideas.” These views are consistent with federal Title IX guidelines that require all schools to properly address any claims of sexual discrimination.
Title IX Program Administrators at Brown University
The University's Title IX Program Office is located in Horace Mann 004A, which is where a complaint may be made in person. Complaints may also be made over the phone or submitted online. Deputy Title IX Coordinators are also associated with the Dean of the Faculty Office and Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards
Brown University's Option for Informal Resolution
Depending on the specific circumstances, the administration may consider an informal resolution. This is most likely to occur when the complaining party wishes to proceed in this manner. One possible means of informal resolution involves mediation. This is not an appropriate choice for cases involving sexual assault or other very serious allegations.
Investigation and Hearing Panel Appointment
The Title IX Officer is responsible for designating an investigator(s). The investigative process generally involves interviewing the parties and any potential witnesses. A panel of three individuals is appointed for hearing the evidence that is facilitated by the Chair of the Title IX Council.
The Hearing Process
The investigators must submit a finalized report to the panel at least five days before the hearing. All parties may deliver oral statements in front of the hearing panel. The complainant and respondent will not be in the hearing room at the same time unless they both agree to do so. The hearing panel will then meet to discuss their findings and make a decision.
Factors Considered When Determining Sanctions
The hearing panel must consider various factors when determining the sanctions that are appropriate including the following:
- The likelihood that the respondent will commit a further act(s) of sexual violence (when applicable)
- Any prior acts of violence committed by the respondent
- Whether any pattern of circumstances associated with drug or alcohol abuse exists
- Whether any weapons were used to commit the acts of sexual violence
- The likelihood that the respondent's presence on campus poses a safety risk to the community
- How significantly the complainant (victim) was harmed by the act(s) of misconduct
Common Sanctions Imposed
When the allegations against the perpetrator are proven, the hearing panel will reveal their findings to all parties within five days. The respondent may lose eligibility to reside in campus housing or be “severely restricted in their movements on campus.” For example, the individual may be permitted on campus only to attend classes. The most common penalties are either being suspended or dismissed from the institution.
The Appeals Process at Brown University
Parties that wish to appeal a Title IX ruling must do so in writing within three business days. There are only three grounds for an appeal as follows:
- A party believes that a “substantial procedural error” occurred that is likely to have impacted the decision
- New evidence that was not previously available has surfaced
- The sanctions that were imposed are disproportionate to the severity of the violation(s)
Role of a Student Rights Advisor
Are you a student or the parent of a college or university student that is facing allegations of violating Title IX guidelines? Students and their families who decide to pursue post-secondary education commonly are making a substantial commitment of time and financial resources. In educational institutions today, acts of serious misconduct are increasingly prioritized. An adverse outcome in a disciplinary proceeding can abruptly halt your plans.
Most institutions do allow for all parties in these disciplinary matters to choose an advisor to lend support. A seasoned student rights attorney should be selected to serve in this capacity. An experienced lawyer will better ensure your school's exclusive procedures and rules are correctly understood.
An attorney serves as an advocate for the student's rights and best interests. He or she will independently review all evidence and potentially challenge its validity. An attorney may also attend hearings, interviews, and other proceedings with the student.
Your attorney may consider engaging in negotiations on your behalf. These discussions may occur with the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate campus administrators. When facing allegations of committing such infractions, you should promptly consult with legal counsel. Doing this promptly is critical to allow for sufficient preparation time.
Today, institutional administrators are being tasked with handling additional responsibilities. The result is that the staff is handling disciplinary actions while still tending to their day-to-day job functions. This often translates to a haphazardly handled disciplinary process that may fail to properly acknowledge the rights and protections of the accused party.
Aggressive Defense for Students at Brown University
The Lento Law Firm will aggressively protect the rights of students who are accused of violating Title IX guidelines. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for additional information.