Clearing a College Record of Title IX Issues

Successfully defending against a charge of Title IX sexual misconduct and finishing one's education is a big win. A Title IX charge can quickly derail a degree program. Beating back the charge enough to complete the degree can feel like hitting a late-inning, comeback home run.

But finishing the education and earning the degree are not the only goals for one who has faced Title IX sexual-misconduct charges. Education can mean more than the degree. Education can also mean building an academic record that employers, graduate schools, licensing boards, and others admire.

And that's where the special strategic skills of national Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento make a major difference. While fighting for a client's right to continue in an educational program and earn a degree, attorney Lento also helps clients look at the bigger picture of the academic record that the Title IX charges may leave behind. Attorney Lento knows how to help accused students keep or recover a clean educational record.

The Problem of a Title IX Record

When a college or university charges a student with Title IX sexual misconduct, the charge and its consequence can leave the student with a negative academic record. The institution may suspend the student pending the charge's resolution, interrupting the student's academic progress. The stress of Title IX charges and the time that they take to address may require the student to drop or withdraw from courses, take incomplete grades, or suffer failing or reduced grades. Academic probation and dismissal are other possibilities for so serious and so distracting of a matter.

The Title IX charges themselves may appear on the student's academic record, even if the student defeats all of the charges. And if instead, the student accepts responsibility for some of the charges or a reduced charge, or the institution finds Title IX misconduct, then the result is very likely to appear on the student's record. Academic issues like poor or inconsistent course performance can affect future opportunities. But Title IX sexual misconduct, implying character and behavior issues, can have a far graver effect.

Any of these Title IX-related entries on a student's academic record can be a red flag to those who hold the keys to a student's future. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act permits a student to control many disclosures of academic records. Yet schools may disclose student information to other officials for health and safety reasons, without the student's consent, such as when the school identifies the student as responsible for a violent sexual offense. And nearly every student will at some point need to share their academic record. Those to whom a student may wish or need to disclose an academic record can include departments within the school, funding sources, service-learning sites, graduate schools, employers, licensing and certification boards, and supportive friends and family members.

Grounds for Record Relief

Colleges and universities must treat Title IX charges seriously. Their federal funding and reputation, and student safety, may depend on their doing so. Yet once an institution resolves Title IX charges responsibly, the institutional and individual interests can shift. Once Title IX charges resolve, or in the process of resolution, an institution may be much more willing and able to protect the accused student's record. The institution may benefit from the accused student not only continuing and completing the education but also having a clear academic record to gain a job and move forward in a career. After all, graduate success, not institutional vengeance, is the college or university's goal.

Gaining Title IX record relief, though, takes skilled advocacy. From his many years of successfully representing hundreds of accused students nationwide, national Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento knows how, when, and with whom to negotiate Title IX resolutions that protect the accused student's record. Institutions resolving Title IX matters aren't necessarily thinking of the accused student's record, but they should be, in order to be consistent with their educational goals.

Title IX record relief can depend on the accused student showing good grounds. Attorney Lento helps accused students make that best showing. Those grounds, while unique to each accused student, can include such things as a sharply disputed factual record with exaggerated false allegations in the Title IX dispute, and the accused student's strong and unblemished academic record and substantial opportunities contingent on a clear record. The accused student's other personal circumstances, like a significant temporary mental-health issue or significant family issues such as death or divorce, may also influence an institution's judgment on the appropriate Title IX record.

Title IX Procedures for Clearing Records

To meet federal Title IX regulations, an institution's Title IX procedures will typically be formal in nature. Those procedures will typically direct complaints of Title IX sexual misconduct to the institution's Title IX coordinator, who may offer the parties informal resolution. Early informal resolution, where available, provides an ideal opportunity to negotiate and ensure the accused student's clear record. Title IX complaints that do not resolve informally typically proceed to an investigation that results in a report and, often, another opportunity for informal resolution with a favorable record.

Title IX charges that proceed to hearing may still offer significant opportunities to keep an accused student's record clear. If the accused student handles the hearing properly with the representation of skilled counsel to cross-examine adverse witnesses, then the result may be the dismissal of all charges. The accused student's attorney may then ensure that nothing negative appears on the student's record. Even if the hearing results in some misconduct finding, opportunities will exist for the attorney representative to help the student appeal the adverse finding or advocate for sanctions that do not include permanent negative marks on the student's record. Even after a Title IX proceeding's conclusion, the accused student and attorney representative may find record relief available through the institution's registrar, depending on the institution's organization and procedures.  In certain instances, an attorney may be able to negotiate relief with the school's Office of General Counsel (the school's attorneys), especially if there were arguable issues or failures with the Title IX disciplinary process leading to the records. 

Retain a National Title IX Attorney

National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento helps students nationwide defend and defeat Title IX sexual-misconduct charges. In the course of doing so, he also helps accused students protect their clean school records or clear their school records of Title IX misconduct. Attorney Lento has the institutional knowledge, many years of experience, strategic foresight, and negotiation skills to help accused students keep or recover a clean educational record. Hundreds of college and university students have wisely trusted national Title IX attorney Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm with their Title IX matter. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation, or use the online service.