When you go to college, a world of opportunity awaits you. Little can be more distressing than seeing all that hard work and opportunity get derailed by a sexual misconduct allegation. If you have been accused of sexual misconduct at the University of Minnesota, you're likely already facing an investigation. Being found guilty of sexual misconduct is a serious issue that can lead to penalties up to and including expulsion and have far-reaching consequences for your future. Schools may not always treat accused students fairly. You must understand your schools' policies and disciplinary process so you can be sure that your school does not ride roughshod over your rights when you are under investigation.
Minnesota Colleges and Title IX or Sexual Misconduct Cases
The Department of Education forbids all sexual misconduct under Title IX. Their guidelines state that all college sexual misconduct is a form of gender-based discrimination. Historically colleges and universities have processed their sexual harassment and misconduct claims under these regulations.
However, if you have been accused of sexual misconduct, you may also face additional punishment for behaviors that fall outside of Title IX. Massachusetts universities all enforce a student code of conduct, and these policies may prohibit a broader scope of sexual misconduct acts.
Changes to Federal Guidelines
Public higher education institutions throughout the country have had to review their sexual misconduct policies, as new federal Title IX regulations took effect on August 14, 2020. Compliance with the regulations is a condition of federal funding.
However, given the limited time colleges have had to prepare, particularly given the disruption of COVID-19, many colleges' new Sexual Misconduct policies are still being refined.
The University of Minnesota Board of Regents met in July 2020 to consider proposed amendments to the University's sexual misconduct policies. They approved changes that ensure that the school's response to sexual misconduct complaints complies with new federal Title IX regulations.
As per the Department of Education's revised regulations, the University will follow the required grievance process in response to sexual conduct cases covered by the regulations.
A Summary of New Title IX Guidelines
If you are being investigated for an offense covered by Title IX at the University of Minnesota, the following updates to your school's Title IX policy will apply.
- Title IX offenses will be investigated under single, a systemwide grievance policy for faculty, staff, and students on its five campuses, including the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities.
- Advisors and attorneys will be allowed to participate in all sexual misconduct hearings and cross-examine witnesses, including those where the accused is an employee. Parties without an advisor will be appointed one.
- These live hearings will be adjudicated by a committee of trained faculty employees and students.
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities: Your School's Sexual Misconduct Policy
All members of the University of Minnesota are subject to the school's Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Relationship Violence policy. University of Minnesota employees must report possible sexual misconduct that they learn about to their campus Title IX office.
At the University of Minnesota, the Title IX Office is encompassed within the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. They will investigate sexual misconduct claims filed against any member of the community. Upon learning about possible prohibited conduct, the campus Title IX office will initiate a formal Title IX-compliant grievance process.
If someone has raised concerns about your behavior with the Title IX office, but no formal complaint has been filed against you, you may be made part of an informal problem-solving process. In this case, the Title IX office will not be determining whether you have violated policy but aiming to provide resources, recommendations, and monitoring to address concerns. If you are in this position, it is still possible that after having gathered further information, the Title IX Office will decide to initiate a grievance process
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities: What Due Process to Expect
When a formal report is made, the Title IX Officer will firstly make an initial assessment to determine whether to begin a Title IX Grievance Process.
The standard of proof known as “preponderance of evidence” will be applied to all sexual misconduct matters involving students, staff, and faculty.
A student respondent may be removed from their University role as an interim measure during a grievance process should they determine a safety risk.
The Consequences of Sexual Misconduct at University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Possible disciplinary sanctions in cases with student respondents are detailed in the Board of Regents Policy: Student Conduct Code, and include the following:
- an oral or written warning
- required compliance with work assignments, community service assignments, or other discretionary assignments
- restriction of privileges
- University housing suspension or expulsion
- suspension or expulsion from the University
- withholding of a diploma or degree and
- revocation of admission or a degree
Of course, beyond these sanctions, your school's actions may have far-reaching consequences. A record of sexual misconduct may make it difficult to compete for graduate education, internships, or employment.
Joseph D. Lento: Experienced College Sexual Misconduct Advisor
If you are facing sexual misconduct allegations at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, you will want an experienced attorney-advisor at your side to defend your right to due process and defend your future. Joseph D. Lento has successfully defended hundreds of students all across the nation in their Title IX and sexual misconduct cases. Whether you are currently facing investigation, awaiting a hearing, or seeking to appeal, Joseph D. Lento will work tirelessly to secure the best possible outcome for you. For more information about how we can help you, reach out to the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.