A strong resume is the key to landing your dream job, and a strong resume begins with education. Many young people strive for good grades in high school in the hopes of landing their dream college and getting their career off on the right foot. In the US, a top-notch education usually comes with a hefty price tag. Some students, however, face a price far greater price than that of tuition: a run-in with Title IX that could cost them everything.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments was introduced in 1972 as a matter of civil rights. At the time, female students faced many obstacles in their pursuit of higher education not only in terms of admission to universities across the country but in access to sufficient and equivalent accommodations once enrolled. To mitigate such inequity, the legislation states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance[.]” While it would appear the amendment focuses on access to adequate programs and facilities for women, today, Title IX is used widely to address issues around sexual misconduct, namely harassment and assault against women.
How Does Title IX Affect You?
Title IX is a federal law, which means any school receiving federal funding is obligated to comply. Enforcement, however, varies from state to state and even from school to school. The specifics of Title IX itself are also changing regularly, adding confusion to an already overwhelming matter. For instance, the Trump Presidency virtually overhauled the legislation while the Biden administration has since attempted to repeal many of those changes.
Allegations of sexual misconduct are serious; the impact of a negative outcome has the ability to unravel a career before it has even begun. If you find yourself on the wrong end of a Title IX infraction, consult a legal advisor with experience in this arena. While your school is obligated to act in the best interest of its students, we can also expect it to act in its own best interest as well – and the interest of a federally-funded school is to protect that funding and its reputation above all else. Come to the table with your own legal representation to match that of the institution.
How Is a Title IX Accusation Investigated?
Your school's student handbook should detail the process for handling a sexual misconduct infraction. The general process is consistent from place to place, though some details will be unique to each school – another reason it's important to assemble a support team that can get into the details.
The process begins with an accusation. From there, the accused should be notified immediately before any investigation gets underway. It is here the student should seek a professional advisor for the best chance at beating the accusation. Once the complaint is registered, and all parties are notified, the following process unfolds:
- The respondent should be notified of his rights, which include:
- Information on the nature of the complaint and who issued it
- The right to continue with his studies under the presumption of no-fault
- The right to a professional advisor
- An Investigator is assigned by the institution to investigate the claim. The investigator conducts interviews with both the accuser and the respondent – it is highly recommended to consult with a legal advisor before issuing any formal statements as this may be the only chance you have to make your case.
- In some instances, a hearing is conducted once interviews are complete, though this is not always the case. Consult an advisor who can determine if a hearing is appropriate and, if so, how to proceed. If a hearing is to be held, both parties may publicly issue their version of events and have the opportunity to pose questions and challenges.
- Next, decision-maker(s) designated by the school deliberate over the information gathered during the investigation and hearing (if applicable).
- The decision-makers issue a decision. Note: this is not handled in the same way as a jury trial. Decision-makers are not obligated to see proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” to find the accused responsible. They must only be swayed slightly more to the side of guilty than innocent in order to issue such a decision.
- Either party has the right to appeal the decision assuming certain criteria are met: new evidence is gathered that was not presented during the original investigation, or there is proof that the original proceedings were not carried out fairly.
- An appeals hearing unfolds following much the same process as the original hearing.
- A final decision is made that is not eligible for appeal, and the case is effectively closed.
What Are the Consequences of a Title IX Violation?
Should a student be found responsible for violating Title IX, the decision-makers at the University have to power to determine the appropriate sanctions. Suspension is usually the minimum penalty, while most students face expulsion.
Being expelled from an institution at any level can have a very real and lasting effect. It causes disruption in the academic year, it can affect credits the student may carry to another school, and it can present challenges to even obtaining admittance to another school. At a minimum, expulsion necessarily means a delay in achieving one's academic goals.
How Can Attorney Joe Lento Help?
When facing accusations of misconduct, there are a host of reasons to enlist the help of an experienced Title IX advisor. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has built a career helping students across the country navigate the murky waters of sexual misconduct accusation. He is always up to date on this complex and ever-changing legal landscape, and he's passionate about helping students and their families manage the confusion.
Your career matters; give it a fighting chance to start off right. Enlist the help of a seasoned Title IX Attorney. Contact the Lento Law Firm's Connecticut office at 888-555-3686 or submit your request using the automated online form. You're not alone; we can navigate this together.
Connecticut colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Eastern Connecticut State University
- Central Connecticut State University
- Southern Connecticut State University
- Western Connecticut State University
- University of Connecticut
- Asnuntuck Community College
- Capital Community College
- Charter Oak State College
- Gateway Community College
- Housatonic Community College
- Manchester Community College
- Middlesex Community College
- Naugatuck Valley Community College
- Northwestern Connecticut Community College
- Norwalk Community College
- Quinebaug Valley Community College
- Three Rivers Community College
- Tunxis Community College
Federal-Level Military Academy
- United States Coast Guard Academy – (exempt from Title IX and the Clery Act)
Private Colleges and Universities
- Albertus Magnus College
- Connecticut College
- Fairfield University
- Goodwin College
- Hartford Seminary
- Holy Apostles College and Seminary
- Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
- Mitchell College
- New England Baptist College
- University of New Haven
- Paier College of Art
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer at Hartford
- Sacred Heart University
- St. Vincent's College
- Trinity College
- University of Bridgeport
- University of Hartford
- University of Saint Joseph
- Wesleyan University
- Yale University
- Lincoln College of New England (formerly Briarwood College)
- Lincoln Technical Institute
- Post University
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. 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 and New Jersey, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in Connecticut and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.