If you're a student at the University of Maryland, College Park, and you've received word that your school will be investigating you for sexual misconduct, you may feel very alone right now.
You may not know if there's anyone around you that you can trust. You may not feel like you can confide in anyone. Meanwhile, you're downloading policies and procedures regarding sexual misconduct from your school's website, reading through confusing legal language, and feeling less-than-optimistic about your chances.
Here's the truth: You can work through this, but you don't want to do so alone. Your school has a lot of incentive to rush your adjudicative process and (potentially) steamroll over your rights. You need to make sure that you protect your rights—and protect your future. With an experienced, empathetic sexual misconduct student defense advisor by your side, you'll be able to come out of this with your head held high.
However, first, you've got to get to work. Here's what you need to know.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal law that oversees United States universities as they investigate and adjudicate discrimination, sexual harassment, and related issues such as sexual assault. Under Title IX, any school that receives federal funding must investigate and adjudicate all allegations of sexual misconduct in a timely manner, or they risk losing their funding.
From time to time, the specific way that schools implement Title IX into their policies changes. Each passing presidential administration, for example, tends to release updated interpretations of Title IX. This can make enforcing Title IX difficult for schools. To keep their students safe, many schools have introduced dual sexual misconduct policies, one that matches Title IX regulations and one that's more general.
What's the sexual misconduct policy at the University of Maryland - College Park?
According to the university's sexual misconduct policy, the following behaviors are prohibited:
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment
- The creation of a hostile (e.g., severely offensive or dangerous) environment
- Sexual assault
- Sexual assault with an object
- Fondling without consent
- Statutory Rape
- Dating Violence
- Domestic Violence
- Sexual Coercion
- Sexual Exploitation
- Sexual Intimidation
- Attempted Sexual Assault
What happens after an allegation of sexual misconduct?
The university has created a very helpful graphic to help understand what happens in the aftermath of an allegation of sexual misconduct. Depending on the specifics of the allegation, the following steps will likely occur:
- Once the school receives a report of alleged sexual misconduct, the school will reach out to the students concerned and assess the initial information that the school has available. If necessary, the school will administer supportive measures to all parties involved, including access to alternative housing or counseling. The school will also provide a notice of rights and responsibilities to all parties involved before determining a logical course of action.
- In some cases, the university may decide to dismiss the initial complaint or provide resources for an informal resolution. However, with sexual misconduct, it's more likely that the school will decide to proceed with a formal complaint.
- The university will launch an investigation to learn more about what happened. This may involve reviewing security materials, speaking with witnesses, reviewing the students' past histories of conduct, or anything else that the university deems appropriate.
- At a formal hearing, the university will review the information proceeding from their investigation with all parties concerned, and give you the chance to tell your side of the story.
- At the end of the hearing, the university will issue a determination of guilt and a recommendation for discipline. They will follow up on this with a written notice of the final outcome that they will send to all parties concerned.
Among the punishments at stake are probation, suspension, and dismissal—along with other potential repercussions, such as reduced campus privileges. While this might not seem like a big deal right now, the long-term consequences of these types of punishments can be severe. For example, when you apply to future jobs, your prospective employers will be able to see this information.
That's why you need to work hard now to make sure this disciplinary process doesn't cost you later.
Can I appeal if I don't agree with the decision my university makes?
If you disagree with the University of Maryland's treatment of you—or if new information comes to light, or if you can demonstrate a procedural abnormality—you will be able to file an appeal. You have a limited window of time in which to do so, however, and you will only have one chance to make an appeal work for you. It's highly recommended that you wait to file an appeal until your advisor helps you craft the most strategic appeal possible.
Call Joseph D. Lento to Help You Navigate Your Sexual Misconduct Due Process
The University of Maryland, College Park, takes student safety very safely. Unfortunately, this can mean that they may not go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that you receive a fair adjudicative process if you stand accused of sexual misconduct.
It's more important than ever to make sure that you receive all of your rights as your university determines your guilt and any associated disciplinary ramifications. Your entire future is at stake, so you need to work to protect it! However, this can be overwhelming.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento is ready to help. He can step in and take the stress off your shoulders by helping you understand your school's rules, put together a strong defense, prepare for any hearings, and making sure that your school takes you seriously. He has spent years helping students nationwide achieve a successful outcome, and he can do the same for you.
Don't fight this alone. Call Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm to protect your rights and your future. The number is 888-535-3686, or use our online form to reach out today.