If you face sexual misconduct charges, your academic and professional future hangs in the balance. The University of Texas Dallas takes sexual misconduct seriously. If found responsible, you face sanctions that may lead to your suspension or expulsion from the university.
Like other schools, the University of Texas Dallas has disciplinary procedures for handling sexual misconduct allegations. In many cases, sexual misconduct is also a Title IX violation and subject to federal regulations. Schools go to great lengths to comply with Title IX rules, often at the expense of the accused.
If you face a sexual misconduct allegation, an attorney-advisor can help you navigate the disciplinary procedures and get your life back on track. Here's what you need to know to move forward.
What is a Title IX Violation?
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination “on the basis of sex” in schools. Under Title IX, sexual misconduct is considered a form of gender-based discrimination. The Department of Education requires that schools comply with its Title IX rules to protect students and enforce violations. Failing to enforce Title IX rules leads to sanctions, including a loss of federal funds.
In 2020, the Department of Education passed new Title IX regulations. The regulations changed how schools respond to Title IX violations and provided new protections for students accused of sexual misconduct. Some of the most impactful changes include the following:
- Defines sexual harassment to include sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking
- Prohibits quid pro quo harassment (e.g., offering educational benefits in exchange for sex)
- Forbids “unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies someone equal access to education”
- Holds schools accountable to investigating sexual misconduct allegations that occur at locations controlled by the school, such as student housing or fraternity events
- Requires schools to select either the preponderance of the evidence standard or the clear and convincing evidence standard for all proceedings
How the University of Texas Dallas Handles Title IX Violations
A Title IX coordinator handles the grievance process for sexual misconduct allegations at the University of Texas Dallas. The university's sexual misconduct policy outlines the steps for responding to sexual misconduct allegations.
The grievance process begins after a student submits a formal complaint to the Title IX Coordinator. The complaint includes a description of the alleged conduct and the respondent's name. The Title IX Coordinator then provides written notice to the parties outlining the allegations, grievance process, and the next steps.
If the respondent denies the allegations, the case moves into a formal investigation. The university has 90 days to investigate the complaint. In compliance with the new rules, the university holds live hearings to investigate Title IX violations.
During a live hearing, both parties have the opportunity to present their case. Each side has the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and present evidence supporting their argument. A hearing officer will review the evidence and statements to determine whether the misconduct occurred. If they find the student responsible for sexual misconduct, the hearing officer will recommend sanctions.
The University of Texas Dallas uses the preponderance of the evidence standard in Title IX cases. This means they must determine that it is more likely than not that a student committed misconduct to enforce sanctions. Both parties also have the right to use an advisor of their choice during disciplinary hearings. They do not allow advisors to actively participate in meetings. Advisors can help prepare your defense, support you during your hearing, and identify opportunities to appeal university decisions.
The university only allows appeals if you submit a formal complaint within ten days of notification of a determination. They allow appeals on the following bases:
- Procedural errors that affected the outcome
- New evidence that could affect the outcome
- Bias by the Title IX Coordinator, investigator, or hearing officer that affected the outcome
The University of Texas Dallas Sexual Misconduct Policies
Title IX may define sexual misconduct, but the University of Texas Dallas also forbids other forms of sexual misconduct. Any of the following acts are violations of the university's sexual misconduct policy:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual exploitation
- Sexual intimidation
- Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature
They also prohibit behavior that “do not rise to the level of sexual harassment but is unprofessional and inappropriate for the workplace or learning environment.”
The student code of conduct states that the university may still investigate formal sexual misconduct complaints, even if it is not prohibited conduct under Title IX. In these instances, the university will still enforce violations under the student discipline policy.
Students face sanctions whether sexual misconduct is a violation of Title IX or university policy. Possible consequences for sexual misconduct include:
- Educational training
- Disciplinary probation
- Suspension or privileges, such as extracurricular activities or athletic programs
- Withholding of grades, transcripts, or degrees
- Withdrawal from classes or the university with a bar against readmission
- Revocation of degree
Why You Need a Title IX Attorney
If you face sexual misconduct allegations at the University of Texas Dallas, your best strategy is to enlist the services of an attorney. Some students make the unfortunate mistake of using a friend or family member as an advisor. An experienced attorney has the knowledge necessary to challenge sexual misconduct allegations.
Student discipline attorneys understand Title IX rules, school policies, and disciplinary procedures. Even in a school hearing, their legal expertise can prove invaluable to your outcome. They can use their skills to create a defense that leads to a dismissal or reduction in sanctions. They can also identify biases, procedural errors, or evidence that are grounds for an appeal.
With your future at stake, you must protect your right to due process. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience defending students at universities across the country and he has successfully defended accused students in hundreds of Title IX sexual misconduct cases nationwide. He will use his valuable experience to achieve the best possible result in your case. Contact the Lento Law Firm to schedule a consultation by calling 888-535-3686 today.