If your student faces sexual misconduct charges, your entire family is likely confused, worried, and wondering what will happen next. Sexual misconduct is serious. It traumatizes. It changes people's lives. Northwestern University is committed to making sure that its students are safe. As a result, it takes all allegations of sexual misconduct very seriously.
There's a lot at stake for your college student. This type of allegation could impact the rest of their life. Fortunately, you do have options. Once you discover that your student faces sexual misconduct charges, it's vital to seek out an experienced Title IX or sexual misconduct advisor to help you protect your student's rights.
Northwestern University and Recent Title IX Changes
The United States government recently instituted a few changes to Title IX, the law that had primarily influenced how publicly-funded schools adjudicated sexual misconduct cases. In response to these changes, many universities have updated their sexual misconduct investigative processes slightly while emphasizing their commitment to keeping their students safe.
Northwestern University updated their campus policies, emphasizing that there were some practices and processes that would and would not change. According to the university's Office of Equity, the policy changes include:
Things that won't change:
- Northwestern continues to prohibit all forms of sexual misconduct.
- The university also responds to all reports of sexual misconduct.
- Things that the school has changed:
- The school has combined two previous policies—one covering discrimination and harassment and one on sexual misconduct—into one Policy on Institutional Equity.
- Northwestern will only address a subset of sexual misconduct under an Interim Policy on Title IX Sexual Harassment. These specific allegations might include domestic violence, stalking, and sexual assault that occurred at a location owned by Northwestern.
- The school will address all other allegations under the new Institutional Equity policy.
While the specific policy language might change, the specific prohibited conduct and processes that your student may experience during adjudication will, largely, remain the same.
Your School's Sexual Misconduct Policy: Northwestern University
Under the Institutional Equity policy, Northwestern begins to define prohibited sexual misconduct by noting that a lack of consent usually accompanies sexual misbehavior. The policy elucidates proper consent, saying that all individuals who participate in this type of conduct must be “knowing, active, and voluntary,” and the consent must be “present and ongoing” throughout all included actions.
The policy goes on to list several of those specific actions that the school specifically prohibits. These include:
- Sexual activity without consent
- Statutory rape
- Sexual voyeurism
- Indecent or lewd exposure without consent
- Recording any intimate activity without the consent of all participants
- Distributing recordings, images, or any sexual information about another without that person's consent
- Inducing incapacitation in another person with the intent of sexual activities
- Dating violence
- Domestic violence
Clearly, there are many actions that the university could adjudicate under their various sexual misconduct policies. If your student faces allegations of sexual misconduct, you need to make sure to cover your bases. The best way to do so is to work with a lawyer who's handled these types of cases before.
Due Process at Northwestern University
Once one student makes a complaint against another, Northwestern University starts a process to determine actual guilt and to decide on the punitive or restorative measures to mete out to the guilty party. As soon as the university receives the complaint, the university will decide regarding immediate actions - for example, removing the accused student from educational programs to preserve the student body's safety.
If the university deems that this action is unnecessary, the university will move to supportive and investigative measures. If, after review of the initial allegation, the university finds that there are sufficient grounds for a formal investigation, the university will issue written notice to all involved parties and schedule investigative measures and a formal hearing. After that process, the university will decide upon further steps.
Your student has the opportunity to appeal any final decision that Northwestern University may issue.
The Penalties to Expect at Northwestern University After Sexual Misconduct
After Northwestern University has conducted its investigation, it will issue a recommendation for punitive measures. Your student's code of conduct will detail the complete list of sanctions. For reference, these may include:
- A verbal or written warning
- A conduct review or meeting with your advisor
- A disciplinary hold on academic records and financial records
- Loss of privileges (including, for example, parking privileges or inclusion in extracurricular activities)
- Mandatory counseling, mentoring, or therapy
- Disciplinary suspension
- Revocation of scholarships
- Expulsion from Northwestern University
While this list already seems like a lot, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Northwestern University can mete out the above academic penalties. Your student may have to struggle with the long-term consequences for the rest of their life.
A sexual misconduct case can cause a direct hit to your student's reputation. This can cause them grief while they're still on campus. However, if their allegation of sexual misconduct makes its way to your student's permanent record, your student could have a hard time applying for scholarships or financial aid, academic programs or other schools, and even getting the job of their dreams later on in life.
Don't let this unfortunate event ruin your student's bright future. Team up with a highly-skilled, hard-working legal team today to work towards a favorable outcome for your student.
Joseph D. Lento Is Ready to Protect Your Student's Rights
When you need assistance with protecting your student's rights in a sexual misconduct case, you need an experienced lawyer at your side. Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience with student discipline cases at schools throughout the nation. For years, he has successfully handled Title IX and sexual misconduct cases, assisting with investigative and hearing processes. Reach out to Joseph D. Lento today to help protect your student's future at Northwestern University. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or contact us through our online form.