Are You or a Loved One Facing College Sexual Misconduct Allegations in Arkansas?
If you or a loved one has been accused of college sexual misconduct, you may already be in the midst of the investigation or hearings at your college or university in Arkansas. Since these allegations are no longer classified under the Title IX guidelines, each school will follow its own handbook or code of conduct to pursue an investigation. An experienced attorney-advisor will understand what “preponderance of evidence” indicates and how to best prepare for the hearing at your college or university. College sexual misconduct allegations can be very serious, and their impact can ripple beyond your college career. You want to make sure you have someone fighting by your side who has a proven record of successfully supporting students with similar circumstances.
What Do The Title IX Changes Mean For College Sexual Misconduct Allegations?
Until May 2020, most college sexual misconduct allegations fell within the jurisdiction of Title IX guidelines. In May, the Department of Education announced the culmination of their overhaul of the Title IX guidelines. Several years went into studying how to ensure that Title IX protected the rights of all those involved, not just the accuser. Significant changes include narrowing the definition of sexual harassment so that “severe or pervasive” does not fall under Title IX, and occurrences off-campus are not qualified. This automatically disqualifies anything that occurs while students are studying abroad.
Many schools in Arkansas responded by updating their code of conduct or student handbooks with changes that allow the universities and colleges to investigate and discipline college sexual misconduct allegations that now fall outside of the Title IX umbrella. For example, Hendrix College updated their policy, which now states: “Hendrix College strives to maintain an environment free from discrimination and harassment, where members of our community treat each other with respect, dignity and courtesy. The College adheres to the principles of equal educational and employment opportunity without regard to age, race, color, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, or national origin. Accordingly, all acts of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and sexual misconduct as defined by this policy are prohibited. The Hendrix College Policy Prohibiting Gender-Based Misconduct has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated.”
Similarly, the University of Arkansas updated its jurisdiction and scope component to state, “This policy applies to allegations and complaints of sexual harassment as defined herein. All other complaints of discrimination or misconduct that do not fall within the jurisdiction of Title IX may be made through other campus procedures.” Clearly, colleges and universities still intend to pursue disciplinary action for these types of allegations, and the proceedings should be taken as seriously as a Title IX investigation.
What Should I Do If I'm Accused Of College Sexual Misconduct?
If you've been accused of college sexual misconduct at your Arkansas college or university, it's important that you take action to protect yourself and your rights. There are several steps it can be useful to keep in mind. Some of the steps are things you should do; others are things you should avoid.
Record and document everything
Start keeping track of everything that's in any way connected to the college sexual misconduct investigation. This could be communication that occurred between you and the accuser prior to the accusation. Make lists of people who might be able to provide eyewitness accounts. An experienced attorney-advisor will be able to look at the material you collect and see how the information can strengthen or weaken your case. This process will help you prepare for the disciplinary hearings at your school.
Contact a College Sexual Misconduct advisor immediately
College sexual misconduct allegations can be complicated, and so it's important that you find an attorney-advisor as soon as possible. They'll be able to ensure that you are well-prepared and can assist you with crafting a strong defense from the start. It's better to tackle the allegations prior to the hearing or disciplinary proceedings at your school. Being proactive gives you a better chance at limiting any long-term effects of the allegations.
Do not contact your accuser
You might want to reach out to your accuser, however, this is ill-advised. No matter how strong the temptation is, do not speak with them. If they reach out to you, don't answer, even to say or write, “I'm not going to talk with you.” Any communication that occurs between the two of you could be used as evidence in the investigation your school conducts.
Don't answer any questions or communicate with anyone about the case.
In a similar vein, you don't want to discuss the allegations with anyone at your school. Don't talk with your friends about it or approach your teachers or mentors for support. If you have teammates, don't discuss it with them. It's natural to want to discuss it with someone—especially with how stressful it can be, but your best bet is to reach out to someone without any connection to your school.
Review your school's Code of Conduct or Student Handbook
Make sure to take time and look over your institution's Student Handbook or Code of Conduct. Each university and college has its own specific nuances to their procedures and regulations. Reviewing these documents will allow you to have a bit of a map for how the investigation may proceed.
Experienced Arkansas College Sexual Misconduct Advisor
With so much at stake, it is critical to prepare yourself as much as possible before any meetings or interviews and certainly before any potential hearing at your school. The early you have a strong advocate in your corner, the better the likelihood of there being a fair process and favorable outcome. An experienced Arkansas college sexual misconduct advisor can fight beside you and apply the wealth of their knowledge and expertise to work towards for the best possible outcome and to strongly defend against the allegations. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of students across the United States fight Title IX allegations and student code of conduct cases. If you have any questions about your or a loved one's situation, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 or contact us online.
Arkansas colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's college sexual misconduct advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Arkansas Baptist College
- Arkansas Northeastern College
- Arkansas State University Beebe
- Arkansas State University Main Campus
- Arkansas State University Mountain Home
- Arkansas State University Newport
- Arkansas Tech University
- Black River Technical College
- Bryan University
- Central Baptist College
- College of the Ouachitas
- Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas
- Crowley's Ridge College
- East Arkansas Community College
- Ecclesia College
- Harding University
- Henderson State University
- Hendrix College
- ITT Technical Institute Little Rock
- John Brown University
- Lyon College
- Mid South Community College
- National Park Community College
- North Arkansas College
- NorthWest Arkansas Community College
- Ouachita Baptist University
- Ozarka College
- Philander Smith College
- Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas
- Pulaski Technical College
- Remington College Little Rock Campus
- Rich Mountain Community College
- South Arkansas Community College
- Southeast Arkansas College
- Southern Arkansas University Main Campus
- Southern Arkansas University Tech
- University of Arkansas
- University of Arkansas at Little Rock
- University of Arkansas at Monticello
- University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
- University of Arkansas Community College Batesville
- University of Arkansas Community College Hope
- University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton
- University of Arkansas Fort Smith
- University of Central Arkansas
- University of Phoenix Little Rock Campus
- University of Phoenix Northwest Arkansas Campus
- University of the Ozarks
- Williams Baptist College
It is critical to make certain the college sexual misconduct investigation at your Alaska school is handled properly and that the accused student's interests are protected from as early as possible during the sexual misconduct investigative process. One major reason is because even at colleges and universities where a finding of responsibility for sexual misconduct charges is made at a hearing, the investigation will set the stage for what the hearing panel is provided prior to a hearing (and what the hearing panel will in large part rely on at a hearing), and at schools where the finding of responsibility is made solely through the investigative process, what takes place during the investigation itself will determine whether the accused is found responsible or not responsible for college sexual misconduct charges.
Unfortunately, some students, families, and college employees make the mistake of not taking the necessary precautions as soon as possible when accused of sexual misconduct at college. Some people will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," their college or university will be fair and impartial and will arrive at the truth. In a perfect world this may be the case, but in a perfect world, sexual misconduct cases would not exist.
Fighting passionately for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation for many years, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that an accused's academic and professional future is on the line. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a college sexual misconduct advisor to students and others in academia facing sexual misconduct investigations and Title IX disciplinary cases in Alaska and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National College Sexual Misconduct Attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686 or by completing our online form.