If you or a loved one has been accused of a Title IX or a sexual misconduct violation at the University of California San Diego, you may be feeling very overwhelmed by all of the unknowns and proceedings. You may have read in the news about the Department of Education changes that took hold in August 2020, and subsequently, feel even more confused.
University of California San Diego was founded in 1960 and is one of ten campuses in the University of California system. The school is one of the premier research universities in the world and is frequently referred to as one of the Public Ivies. With over 40,000 students across undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies, the student population is among the larger ones in the United States. UCSD receives federal funding, and subsequently, is responsible for upholding the Title IX federal regulations.
Allegations of Title IX and sexual misconduct are very damaging and can have long-ranging effects, especially if UCSD finds through their proceedings that there is a preponderance of the evidence that the behavior took place. Whether you've just been notified that you are facing these allegations or you are further along in the process, it's important to speak with a Title IX attorney-advisor who specializes in helping individuals at higher education institutions. The knowledge and expertise that a specialist brings will help you or your loved one understand how to best build a defense strategy. It's important to have an unbiased advisor who's there to protect your best interests. The University will have one to protect their interests, and so should you.
What Constitutes a Title IX Violation at UCSD?
The updated guidance from the Department of Education under Betsy DeVos emphasized a return to protecting and leveling the field for the due process rights of both the alleged victim and the alleged accused. At the University of California San Diego, the school has chosen to comply with the federal regulation and to investigate other matters that now fall outside of the purview of Title IX. The University actually petitioned the Department of Education to change the new process prior to the change taking effect. Their interim Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy states, “Because compliance with the regulations is a condition of federal funding, the University has nonetheless revised its policies to fully implement them. This Policy is more expansive than the regulations in both the conduct prohibited (described in Section II) and its coverage (described in Section III.B). So, the University will apply the DOE Grievance Process only when required, in response to DOE-Covered Conduct. It will follow its existing processes for all other reports.”
If you are facing allegations then, it's critical you find an attorney-advisor who can fight on your behalf since the University has made clear its position on the new DOE process.
An allegation falls under the new Title IX guidance if:
- It occurred on or after August 14, 2020;
- The alleged conduct took place in the United States and on campus, or;
- Off-campus but in the context of UCSD operations, a building owned or controlled by a UCSD-recognized student organization.
Additionally, there is a difference in the definition of what constitutes DOE sex-based misconduct. The alleged misconduct also must fall under the specific behaviors outlined in Appendix IV.B.4a-h.
What Office Processes the Title IX Investigations at UC San Diego?
The Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination is responsible for all issues associated with bias, harassment, and discrimination. They facilitate formal investigations or alternative resolution to any complaints of discrimination or harassment. The Office has a page specifically for students and also one for staff, and one for faculty.
UC San Diego's Policies and Procedures
The process for Title IX violations at UCSD has not been added to the handbook yet. However, there is an interim appendix available. It's important to understand that a formal investigation may occur whether or not an alleged victim (complainant) wants to move forward. If an individual reports an alleged SVSH (sexual violence and sexual harassment) to the Office for the Prevention of Harassment & Discrimination (OPHD) and does not wish to pursue a formal investigation, it's up to the discretion of the University to decide whether or not they need to investigate. Appendix F III.B states the: “Title IX Officer will determine whether the allegations, nonetheless, require an investigation to mitigate a potential risk to the campus community.”
The University may temporarily suspend you if the alleged behavior falls outside of the DOE-Covered Conduct. The standard for Title IX allegations instead is that you shall only be restricted to the extent necessary if there's reasonable cause to believe that participation in activities or presence at specific parts of campus would threaten the physical health or safety of anyone on campus.
The school does allow students to have an advisor of their choosing present at all stages of the process, from the hearing, to the investigation, to an appeal, if necessary.
In the Interim Appendix F, the pertinent pages that outline the specific process, if you'd like to peruse them, are pages 3-35. It specifies the timelines for written notices, the investigation, the hearings, and the appeals process. It also speaks to possible sanctions, beginning at the end of page 35.
What Are the Potential Consequences for Your Future?
If you are not cleared of the allegations, UCSD may impose sanctions that can directly impact both your future academic career and your future personal career. Sexual Assault sanctions range from a minimum of one year to two-year suspension. Can you afford to lose the money and the time you've invested in your college career up to this point? Suspension and expulsion go onto your permanent academic record and can follow you for the rest of your life.
Experienced Title IX College Sexual Misconduct Attorney-Advisor
If you or your loved one is currently facing Title IX or college sexual misconduct allegations, it's important that you not waste any time before reaching out to an attorney-advisor. You want someone who will stand by your side and fight to ensure that due process is followed, and that you receive a fair and just investigation. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped thousands of students, both nationally and internationally, in similar challenging circumstances. They bring heart and dedication to every case they work on. Call 888.535.3686 or contact them online to speak with attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento today.