Sexual misconduct traumatizes, confuses, and frustrates. It's every parent's worst nightmare to learn that their child is involved in alleged sexual misconduct. You and your student both have spent years working towards a productive, enjoyable college experience at Texas A&M.
Now, a pending sexual misconduct case may seem to threaten everything you've hoped for.
Unwarranted allegations of sexual misconduct have serious effects on a young student's career. Your school has a responsibility to give your student a fair hearing. However, certain laws - including Title IX, among others - can incentivize a process and adjudication that is not cognizant of a respondent's rights and interests instead of being fair. Ultimately, it may fall to you to find a way to protect your child's future.
Texas Colleges and Title IX or Sexual Misconduct Cases
If your child faces charges of sexual misconduct, their case may fall under Title IX or a similar College Sexual Misconduct law. Recent changes to Title IX have slightly affected the legal processes your school may follow, but the nature of the accusations remains the same. Some of the changes you could experience if the case is addressed and adjudicated under Title IX include:
- Your school must investigate allegations of sexual misconduct and include a live hearing.
- Anyone who cannot attend the live hearing (including witnesses) cannot supply information for use in the investigation.
- The new rules regulate the geographical jurisdiction of your school. For example, any misconduct at fraternity and sorority houses is eligible under the new rules. Off-campus housing is not.
Many schools have decided to use a dual adjudication process. Since the allegations between Title IX and College Sexual Misconduct cases are often similar, schools will, in many scenarios, use already-existing frameworks to handle sexual misconduct allegations.
Texas A&M: Your School's Sexual Misconduct Policy
At Texas A&M, your school places a high value on “loyalty, integrity, excellence, leadership, respect, and selfless service.” As your school's designated Title IX website notes, Texas A&M, therefore, does not believe that sexual misconduct has any place on its campus. Moreover, the school states in its code of conduct that each student and staff member must report any incidents of sexual misconduct that they believe have taken place.
This is a good way to ensure the safety of the student body of Texas A&M. It's also a good way to collect false and unfair accusations of sexual misconduct.
Texas A&M defines sexual misconduct as any sort of sexual harassment, violence, assault, or stalking that interferes with another student's education. This is a very wide and vague definition. As such, it allows for a lot of misinterpretation and, potentially, unwarranted accusations.
Texas A&M: What Due Process to Expect
Texas A&M's sexual misconduct disciplinary process begins when one student makes an allegation against another and reports it to the designated Title IX coordinator.
From there, the coordinator will turn the case over to an Investigative Authority, who will formulate an investigative report. That report goes to a Designated Administrator, who, upon reading the report, will begin to assemble a panel of university officials and hearing officers.
During this process, as noted by the school's official code of conduct, Texas A&M will send written notices to all interested parties regarding their own rights as well as resources they can turn to for further information. At this point, it's a good idea for you to secure legal aid, if you have not done so already.
Depending on the nature of the alleged incident, the panel of adjudicators may decide to mete out punitive measures informally. If, on the other hand, the allegations are severe or if the accuser requests it, the panel will invite you to a formal hearing.
At this hearing, both you and your accuser will have time to state your cases. Once the Designated Administrator and their panel make a final decision, you will have a short period of time (noted by the Designated Administrator) to appeal if you so choose. After that, the school will consider your case closed.
The Consequences of Sexual Misconduct at Texas A&M
Perhaps one of the topics you and your student are most interested in is the nature of disciplinary measures connected with sexual misconduct. At Texas A&M, the consequences can be wide-ranging. According to your school's rules and regulations, the penalties you face could include:
- Ineligibility to hold student office
- Ineligibility to represent the school in any way (including participation in sports and other competitions)
- Ineligibility to apply for or receive scholarships - including ones you might have already won
- Conduct probation
- Conduct review
- Restriction of privileges (such as campus parking or extracurricular activities)
- Community service
- Educational requirements (such as completion of a reflective writing assignment)
- An official letter of reprimand
- Loss of campus housing
Of course, beyond these concrete penalties, your school's actions may have far-reaching consequences. If your student has a record of sexual misconduct, even if it is unfair or false, they may find it difficult to compete for graduate education, internships, or employment. If Texas A&M expels your student over these allegations, it can be near impossible to get into another school.
For these reasons, it's imperative that you invest in high-quality legal aid as soon as you know that your student faces sexual misconduct charges. A smart, seasoned sexual misconduct advisor can make all the difference as you fight to protect your student's future.
Joseph D. Lento: A Hard-Working, Experienced College Sexual Misconduct Advisor
When you need assistance building a defense to sexual misconduct accusations, you need experience and expertise. Joseph D. Lento can provide both. For years, he has successfully defended students all across the nation in their Title IX and sexual misconduct cases. Whether you need assistance with the investigative process, preparation for an adjudicative hearing, or help with an appeal, Joseph D. Lento will work tirelessly towards your best outcome. For more information about how we can help you, reach out to the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.