Have You Been Accused of College Sexual Misconduct?
If you've been accused of college sexual misconduct at a school in Georgia, you may already be in the beginning stages of disciplinary proceedings through the body that handles your school's code of conduct or student handbook. The burden of proof may be very low in a campus disciplinary hearing, and the hearing may lack procedural safeguards that protect your rights. An attorney advisor who has fought hundreds of similar cases can help you navigate this disconcerting time.
What Is the Impact of the Title IX Changes on College Sexual Misconduct Allegations?
For quite some time, most sexual misconduct allegations have been handled under Title IX. Over the past few years, the Department of Education has studied how to better protect all students' rights and in May 2020, they released new guidelines that narrowed the scope of investigations under Title IX. These changes are beneficial to those who have been accused.
However, many colleges throughout Georgia still plan to investigate college sexual misconduct allegations with the same level of severity and punishment. For example, Morehouse College recently released its new Sexual Misconduct Policy which complies with the new regulations. According to the new Title IX guidelines, off-campus incidents do not fall into the scope of an investigation.
For example, Morehouse's Policy states: “Off-Campus Conduct. This Policy applies to prohibited conduct that occurs on-college premises and at College-sponsored activities. The College also has the discretion to discipline a student for an act in violation of this Policy or other policies that happens off-campus if that conduct adversely affects the Morehouse College community and/or the pursuit of its objectives. The Title IX Coordinator, in limited discretion and on a case-by-case basis, may refer conduct occurring off-campus and outside of the Title IX jurisdiction to other relevant proceedings, e.g., student code of conduct, faculty or staff grievance processes.” Subsequently, college sexual misconduct allegations may still be handled with severity.
Consequences of College Sexual Misconduct Allegations
College sexual misconduct is a serious charge that can have grave effects on your college career and beyond. Although schools may be handling these charges through their own proceedings, rather than according to the old Title IX guidelines, they are still very concerning. If your school decides to impose penalties after they complete the investigation, they could decide to suspend or expel you from the college or university. If you're expelled or suspended from your school in Georgia during the school year, you may lose some of your financial aid, due to eligibility. School is already so expensive and adding extra debt can impact your life for years. Additionally, if you're suspended, it will be much harder to gain admittance at another school, as the charges will most likely be on your permanent academic record.
How Can I Protect Myself If I've Been Accused of College Sexual Misconduct?
If you've been accused of college sexual misconduct in Georgia, you'll want to make sure you take certain steps from the start. Here are five suggestions you could begin with.
Don't communicate with your accuser
You may feel compelled to contact your accuser, but you mustn't communicate with them. Any communication or exchanges between the two of you could be used in the disciplinary proceedings as evidence against you. In a similar vein, don't have any friends talk with your accuser on your behalf. This will serve you well.
Don't discuss your situation with anyone at the school
With something as serious as an allegation of college sexual misconduct, it's natural to want to lean on your friends. In this situation, however, it's better to only discuss the incident with an attorney advisor or with people who are outside of your college or university life. Also, you do not have to answer questions if public safety or campus police want to discuss the investigation with you. Politely refuse, in a respectful way.
Reach out to a college sexual misconduct advisor as soon as possible
Sometimes families wait until the investigation is completed and a decision made before they contact a college sexual misconduct advisor, however, it is better to reach out as quickly as possible. An experienced attorney advisor who has helped students at more than a thousand colleges and universities can assist you during this trying time and make sure that your rights are protected.
Look over your school's Code of Conduct or Student Handbook
Each college and university has its own code of conduct or student handbook that outlines the process of investigations for college sexual misconduct allegations. A college sexual misconduct hearing in Georgia will differ then, depending on where you're at school. By reviewing your institution's specific documents, you'll be able to better understand what the disciplinary procedures and policies look like. An attorney advisor can also help you know your rights and obligations as a respondent to the complainant's allegations.
Document and record everything that happens
One way to make sure that you're gathering all of the evidence is to keep a record of the events surrounding the allegation. You also may want to keep text messages, dm's, snapchats, and any communication on social media that occurred between you and the complainant. You'll want to have everything that can possibly help your position for the disciplinary proceedings, and an experienced advisor attorney will best be able to advise you on which evidence will help your case and which evidence could be a challenge to navigate.
How an Advisor Can Help
An experienced attorney advisor can help make sure that your rights are protected during the college sexual misconduct investigation and disciplinary proceedings. They'll understand the implications of the procedures in the student handbook and will also have a firm grasp on how to best protect your interests. They can hold the college accountable to follow its own rules and procedures, rather than rush to conclude the process in a sloppy manner.
Experienced Georgia College Sexual Misconduct Advisor
If you are a student who's been accused of college sexual misconduct in Georgia, you should consult with an experienced attorney advisor who is dedicated to fighting on your behalf and protecting your rights. Everyone deserves nothing less. Contact Lento Law Firm today at 1-888-535-3686 or online.
Georgia 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:
- Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
- Agnes Scott College
- Albany State University
- Albany Technical College
- Altamaha Technical College
- American InterContinental University Atlanta
- Andrew College
- Argosy University Atlanta
- Armstrong State University
- Athens Technical College
- Atlanta Metropolitan College
- Atlanta Technical College
- Augusta State University
- Augusta Technical College
- Bainbridge College
- Bauder College
- Berry College
- Beulah Heights University
- Brenau University
- Brewton Parker College
- Brown College of Court Reporting
- Brown Mackie College Atlanta
- Carver Bible College
- Central Georgia Technical College
- Chattahoochee Technical College
- Clark Atlanta University
- Clayton State University
- College of Coastal Georgia
- Columbus State University
- Columbus Technical College
- Covenant College
- Dalton State College
- Darton College
- DeVry University Georgia
- East Georgia College
- Emmanuel College
- Emory University
- Everest Institute Norcross
- Fort Valley State University
- Fortis College
- Gainesville State College
- Georgia Christian University
- Georgia College & State University
- Georgia Gwinnett College
- Georgia Highlands College
- Georgia Institute of Technology Main Campus
- Georgia Military College Atlanta Campus
- Georgia Military College Augusta Campus
- Georgia Military College Columbus Campus
- Georgia Military College Milledgeville Campus
- Georgia Military College Valdosta Campus
- Georgia Military College Warner Robins Campus
- Georgia Northwestern Technical College
- Georgia Perimeter College
- Georgia Piedmont Technical College
- Georgia Southern University
- Georgia Southwestern State University
- Georgia State University
- Gordon College
- Gupton Jones College of Funeral Service
- Gwinnett College Lilburn
- Gwinnett Technical College
- Herzing University Atlanta
- Interactive College of Technology Chamblee
- ITT Technical Institute Atlanta
- ITT Technical Institute Duluth
- ITT Technical Institute Kennesaw
- Kennesaw State University
- LaGrange College
- Lanier Technical College
- Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Atlanta
- Life University
- Luther Rice University
- Macon State College
- Mercer University
- Middle Georgia College
- Middle Georgia Technical College
- Miller Motte Technical College
- Miller Motte Technical College Columbus
- Miller Motte Technical College Macon
- Morehouse College
- Moultrie Technical College
- North Georgia College & State University
- North Georgia Technical College
- Oconee Fall Line Technical College
- Ogeechee Technical College
- Oglethorpe University
- Okefenokee Technical College
- Paine College
- Piedmont College
- Point University
- Reinhardt University
- Sanford Brown College Atlanta
- Savannah College of Art and Design
- Savannah State University
- Savannah Technical College
- Shorter University
- Shorter University College of Adult & Professional Programs
- South Georgia College
- South Georgia Technical College
- South University Savannah
- South University Savannah Online
- Southeastern Technical College
- Southern Crescent Technical College
- Southern Polytechnic State University
- Southwest Georgia Technical College
- Spelman College
- The Art Institute of Atlanta
- Thomas University
- Toccoa Falls College
- Truett McConnell College
- University of Georgia
- University of Phoenix Atlanta Campus
- University of Phoenix Augusta Campus
- University of Phoenix Columbus Georgia Campus
- University of Phoenix Savannah Campus
- University of West Georgia
- Valdosta State University
- Virginia College
- Virginia College Augusta
- Waycross College
- Wesleyan College
- West Georgia Technical College
- Westwood College Atlanta Midtown
- Westwood College Northlake
- Wiregrass Georgia Technical College
- Young Harris College
It is critical to make certain the college sexual misconduct investigation at your Georgia 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 Georgia 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.