Title IX is a federal law that covers all college students and regulates how Connecticut higher education institutions adjudicate cases of sexual misconduct. If a student from another country, known as an international student, happens to be involved in a case of sexual misconduct - whether they are an accuser, known as a “complainant,” or the accused, referred to as a “respondent” - they are expected to adhere to this law. But unfortunately, there are certain aspects of this law and its enforcement that tend to leave international students especially vulnerable.
Sexual misconduct allegations can lead to serious consequences for any student under Title IX. However, international students must be aware of how this law specifically and uniquely impacts them.
Understanding Title IX
Discrimination of any type is strictly forbidden on college campuses in accordance with federal law. Students are protected from gender-based discrimination, in particular, under Title IX of the Education Amendments. Title IX covers all students, regardless of their citizen status, national origin, or immigration status.
Sexual misconduct falls under the umbrella of gender-based discrimination, and there are multiple actions that constitute sexual misconduct. Some of them include sexual harassment, sexual assault, and dating violence - all of which are prevalent on college campuses. Under current Title IX guidance, higher education institutions are to fairly and promptly adjudicate all complaints alleging sexual misconduct in any of its variations.
How Sexual Misconduct Allegations Affect Connecticut International Students
Being a respondent in the Title IX process obviously comes with inherent disadvantages. Due to the social stigma sexual misconduct allegations carry, many respondents report being mistreated and ignored by fellow students, peers, staff, and administration throughout the process for merely being accused of sexual misconduct. This isn't an uncommon phenomenon despite the fact that Title IX endorses that the interests of both parties are to be equally considered and catered to.
A respondent who also happens to be an international student will face an additional unique set of challenges that could disadvantage them further. Many international students feel alienated throughout the Title IX process, not only due to the nature of the allegations but as a result of being unfamiliar with certain American customs.
International students are often less aware of the rights entitled to them and the obligations they're expected to fulfill. Also, important concepts like evidentiary standards and investigatory procedures must be understood to gain leverage in the Title IX process. Not having a firm grasp on these concepts as an international student can make being accused a very perplexing situation.
Sexual Misconduct Allegations and Student Visas
International students have a lot to lose when accused of academic misconduct. In fact, these students have much more to lose than the average native student in a similar predicament.
In order for international students to remain in the United States for their studies, they must acquire a student visa. This visa only remains effective when certain requirements are fulfilled. Among these requirements is the obligation to maintain a full-time course load, which is equivalent to at least 12 academic credit hours per semester. If an international student is found “responsible” for sexual misconduct, said student's ability to continue their education becomes compromised. A suspension or expulsion can result in an international student losing their visa.
This consequence is imposed on top of possibly having a criminal record if official charges are filed.
Connecticut Title IX Advisor for Student Defense
As you can see, you, as an international student, have a lot to lose when accused of sexual misconduct in Connecticut colleges and universities. A responsible finding can derail your professional and academic goals. If you're in this predicament and believe that they're innocent, it's imperative you reach out to a legal professional. Attorney Joseph D. Lento of the Lento Law Firm can help you make sense of your situation and give you options that will increase your chances of a favorable outcome - contact him today or by phone at 888-535-3686.