According to RAINN, 13% of all college students experience rape or sexual assault involving incapacitation, force, or violence. This is a scary statistic to consider, especially if you have children in college.
However, there's an ugly flip side to this situation. Although students who commit sexual misconduct should face the consequences of their actions, unfortunately, many students receive false and unfair allegations - and under sexual misconduct and Title IX policies, they face harsh punishments like suspension and expulsion. In some cases, they may receive criminal charges, as well.
Just as victims of sexual assault have rights, those accused of it do, too. If your child was accused of sexual misconduct at Oklahoma State University, whether at its main Stillwater campus or its Oklahoma City or Tulsa campuses, a college sexual misconduct student advisor can help them through the hearing process and build a strong case to defend your child's future and their reputation.
What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 is a law that prohibits discrimination at colleges and universities based on gender. Because sexual assault is a form of gender discrimination, it is prohibited both by Title IX law and under Title IX policies on college campuses. Indeed, federal Title IX regulations require schools to prohibit sex discrimination in the form not only of physical sexual assaults, dating or domestic violence, and stalking but also in the form of non-physical sexual harassment. Schools that do not do so can lose their federal funding.
Although Title IX has not changed since it was introduced in 1972, federal interpretations and implementation guidelines for Title IX change depending on who holds political power. Colleges and universities have different methods for handling Title IX violations.
What Is the Sexual Misconduct Policy at OSU?
Oklahoma State University maintains an interim Title IX policy that prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct that Title IX's federal regulations require schools to prohibit. Those prohibited Title IX forms of misconduct include not only physical sexual assaults, dating or domestic violence, and stalking but also non-physical sexual harassment. Oklahoma State University's interim Title IX policy applies to all of its campuses including both Oklahoma City and Tulsa, not just the main Stillwater campus.
Oklahoma State University's sexual misconduct policy, though, prohibits additional misconduct that Title IX does not address. Some colleges and universities have separate policies for sexual misconduct and Title IX violations based on the specific nature of the allegation. Oklahoma State University instead includes both Title IX misconduct and non-Title IX misconduct in its interim Title IX policy. Oklahoma State University's interim Title IX policy prohibits not only the Title IX forms of sexual misconduct that federal regulations require schools to prohibit, but also non-Title IX forms of sexual misconduct. In other words, OSU's sexual misconduct policy is broader than federal law requires. And OSU punishes all forms of sexual misconduct under its Title IX policy and procedures.
This means that if your child is accused of sending an inappropriate email, they're faced with the same hearing process and potential punishments as someone who is accused of rape. This is what makes Title IX so confusing, and we don't recommend trying to handle it alone. An experienced sexual misconduct advisor can help you and your child navigate the process and pursue the best possible outcome.
What Does OSU Consider Sexual Misconduct Under Title IX?
Oklahoma State University classifies any form of sexual assault, stalking, unwanted sexual advance, sexual harassment, or sexual exploitation as sexual misconduct and handles them according to the school's interim Title IX policy. The school's prohibited forms of sexual misconduct falling under Title IX include:
- sexual violence including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking;
- quid-pro-quo harassment that conditions university benefits or services on unwelcome sexual conduct;
- hostile-environment harassment in the form of severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive unwelcome sexual conduct denying equal access based on sex; and
- retaliation for reporting Title IX sexual misconduct or otherwise participating in a Title IX proceeding.
The school's prohibited forms of non-Title IX sexual misconduct, going well beyond what the federal Title IX regulations require, fall under the interim Title IX policy's definition of sexual exploitation and include these other forms of non-consensual or harassing sex-related activity:
- taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another;
- sharing of pornographic or other sexually inappropriate material;
- intentional nonconsensual removal of a condom or other contraceptive during sex;
- nonconsensual recording of sexual activity;
- letting others watch consensual sex without the other's knowledge and consent;
- knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) to another;
- indecent exposure;
- using sexually explicit language;
- making comments of a sexual nature about another person; and
- sexual intimidation or coercion.
This list is long, but it's not exhaustive. Even some items within the list have a broad definition, so multiple students can be accused of the same sexual misconduct violation under completely different circumstances.
It's important for you and your student to understand the specific allegations against them so you can prepare a solid defense, and a student misconduct attorney can manage the process for you.
How Does OSU Handle Sexual Misconduct Violations?
Oklahoma State University handles sexual misconduct allegations according to their interim Title IX policy. The policy outlines:
- Reporting policies
- Support options for victims
- Complaint process
- Investigation process
- Hearing procedure
- Appeals process
- Applicable state laws
Any student or faculty member can report allegations of sexual harassment against an OSU student. After a student is reported, they may face emergency removal from campus until the hearing takes place. This can present a major interference with the student's ability to keep up with their coursework, and if they're found to not be responsible for the incident, they may struggle to catch up.
A Title IX coordinator will assess the report and issue an investigation notice to all involved parties. Students are allowed to have a student advisor present with them at all stages of the investigation and hearing processes. The investigation determines whether the accusation will be dismissed or if it will proceed to the hearing stage.
If the student is found responsible for the incident after the hearing, they will face Title IX violation disciplinary action, which will focus upon sanctioning. Students have ten days to file an appeal.
What Can Happen to My Student if They're Accused of a Title IX Violation at OSU?
Sanctions for Title IX violations are selected and imposed during the hearing process. The Student Code of Conduct lists potential sanctions for any student who faces disciplinary action for a university policy violation of any kind. They may include:
- Written warning
- Privilege restriction
- Personal development requirements
- Removal from class
- No-contact orders
Students who are accused of committing Title IX violations may also face criminal charges. OSU-OKC reports incidents believed to be illegal in nature to local authorities for investigation. Additionally, students who report sexual misconduct can file police reports against the accused. Thankfully, Department of Justice statistics reflect that 80% of sexual misconduct allegations will be exclusively addressed at the school level and will not involve a criminal investigation or prosecution. This is good news and bad news. It is good news that no criminal case will be one less problem to overcome. The bad news is that a finding of responsibility at the school level can literally have a lifetime of consequences for a respondent. This is why it is critical to have an experienced Title IX attorney involved as early as possible. Additionally, a successful Title IX hearing defense and case dismissal can help your child avoid legal repercussions as well.
How Can Attorney Joseph D. Lento Help as My Student's Sexual Misconduct Advisor?
Sexual misconduct is a serious offense, and if your child was accused, they have the right to receive a fair investigation process and an impartial hearing. Unfortunately, colleges and universities often impose immediate actions that can affect a student's academic performance, even if they did not commit a sexual misconduct infraction. Additionally, students who are unjustly found responsible and punished for sexual misconduct face the potential for suspension or expulsion and an academic record that could permanently damage their career opportunities.
If your child was accused of sexual misconduct or a Title IX offense at Oklahoma State University, including its main Stillwater campus or its Oklahoma City or Tulsa campuses, attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm can help them defend themself and protect their future. Attorney Lento and his Firm have helped hundreds of clients overcome Title IX charges across the United States and they can help do the same for you. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online to get started.