Defending Title IX Charges at Caribbean Medical Schools

Many Caribbean medical schools provide top-notch education and training. For their students, who come from all over the globe, promising careers lie ahead. That promise is jeopardized when a student is accused of violating the U.S. Department of Education's Title IX policy. Penalties for Title IX violations can include a range of disciplinary actions, including suspension or dismissal. Suspension or dismissal can make admission to another medical school or other graduate program very difficult. Suspension or dismissal can certainly affect professional employment. Unfortunately, dismissal doesn't let students off the hook for their medical school loans either.

Accusations of a Title IX violation carry serious implications. Students accused of a violation should know how the policy applies to them and what to expect as they move through the adjudication process. They should also get the best available attorney help. National Title IX defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm are available for your Title IX defense at Caribbean medical schools. Call 888.535.3686 or go online for help now.

What is Title IX?

Title IX protects students from discrimination based on their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Title IX applies to all educational institutions—K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, including professional schools—that receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Federal funds for these institutions come in the form of program and research grants, student loans, and work-study programs. The federal loans that you take out to fund your education are a form of federal funding for your college, university, or medical school.

Title IX was added to the Higher Education Act in 1972, part of a broad wave of civil rights protections launched in the 1960s. The text of the statute promises that “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.”

At its most basic level, Title IX removes the barriers that have historically prevented women from admission to, or full participation in, institutions, labs, courses, and other academic experiences, including athletics. But Title IX has always applied equally to protect men, not just women. And those protections include certain procedural rights not just for those who claim sex discrimination but also for those whom they accuse. If you face Title IX charges at your college, university, or medical school, then know that you have certain rights under Title IX law and regulation. Those rights can be critical to your successful defense against Title IX charges.

National Title IX defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm know how to employ those procedures for your most effective Title IX defense. If you face Title IX charges at Caribbean medical schools, call 888.535.3686 or go online for help now.

Expanded Title IX Protections

Title IX charges are more common than ever today at colleges, universities, and professional schools receiving federal funding. Over time, the application of the Title IX statute has expanded to protect students from a broader range of sex- and gender-based harms that can detrimentally affect their ability to fully participate in academic life. The expanded Title IX interpretations now protect against:

  • sexual assault and sexual harassment
  • discrimination against or harassment of pregnant students or student parents
  • discrimination against or harassment of transgender or gender-nonconforming students
  • discrimination against or harassment of LGBTQI+ students

The Trump Administration clarified and even rolled back some recent Title IX gender-identity protections. But the Biden administration is working to restore, strengthen, and even expand those protections. Students at medical schools receiving federal funding should expect rigorous and expansive enforcement of Title IX protections. Indeed, college and university students can at times face over-zealous and unfair enforcement of those protections. Institutions receiving federal funding take their Title IX obligations seriously not just because of a commitment to student rights but also because of financial implications.

Title IX compliance at eligible schools applies to the schools, not to their faculty, staff, and students individually. This term means that a professor who excludes a female student from a lab project because of her gender, for instance, or a student who harasses a transgender student, will not be punished directly by the U.S. Department of Education. Instead, the Department punishes the school as a whole for that professor's or that student's violations. And the punishment against the school is that the school can lose its eligibility for U.S.-backed student loans or have its grants or programs defunded. Losing federal funding would for nearly all institutions of higher education be a death knell for the school's degree programs.

As a result, federally funded schools tend to work hard to prevent Title IX violations by the individuals affiliated with them, as well as by their academic and athletic programs, by rooting out and disciplining non-compliant students, faculty, and staff. Many larger universities have even created an office for Title IX compliance to deal with violations. Given their enormous financial stake in federal funding, schools tend to err on the side of over-zealous Title IX enforcement rather than on getting at the truth while protecting the falsely accused. If you face an unfair Title IX enforcement action at a Caribbean medical school on false or exaggerated charges, then you need expert help. Retain national Title IX defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm. Get the best available Title IX defense help.

Title IX at Medical Schools Outside the U.S.

Within the U.S., more than 60 million students at elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, and vocational and professional schools are covered by Title IX protections. But Title IX applies to any educational institution receiving federal funding. And perhaps surprisingly, lots of schools beyond U.S. borders, including Caribbean medical schools, receive federal funding.

Beyond U.S. borders, approximately 700 colleges and universities receive U.S. Department of Education funds. Funds for these institutions come in the same forms as funds for schools within the U.S.: program and research grants, student loans, and work-study programs. Of these international secondary-education institutions, twenty-four institutions are medical schools located in the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Israel, and Australia. U.S. law doesn't necessarily extend beyond U.S. borders. But because these schools accept students who bring with them their U.S. federal student aid, those schools are more than willing to enforce the Title IX protections that come along with that U.S. federal student aid.

In short, international schools with U.S. funding have the same expectation of compliance with Title IX as schools inside the U.S. Students at medical schools in the Caribbean that accept grants and financial aid from the U.S. Department of Education are held to the same Title IX standards as students in the U.S. A Caribbean medical student will be found to be in violation of Title IX if he or she:

  • sexually harasses or assaults another student
  • discriminates against or harasses another student based on his or her sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, pregnancy, or status as a parent
  • harasses, interferes with, or retaliates against a student who reports a Title IX violation

Remember, because Title IX applies to institutions, and institutions are responsible for enforcing it, Title IX compliant behavior is expected of all students regardless of their nationality. A French student at a Caribbean medical school that receives U.S. funding is as bound to the rules of Title IX as an American student.

Currently, these are the Caribbean medical schools that are required to comply with the U.S. Department of Education's Title IX policy:

  • American University of Antigua School of Medicine
  • American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
  • Medical University of the Americas
  • Ross University School of Medicine
  • Saba University School of Medicine
  • St. George's University School of Medicine
  • St. Matthew's University School of Medicine

If you are attending any of these Caribbean medical schools, then you may face sexual misconduct charges governed by Title IX law and regulations, even though your medical school is in a foreign country. The good news, though, is that you should also receive the federal Title IX procedural protections that come along with Title IX accusations. Retain national Title IX defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the expert team at the Lento Law Firm to ensure that your Caribbean medical school provides you with those protections. You can successfully defend and defeat Title IX charges if you have skilled and experienced attorney representation.

Accused of a Title IX Violation? Make Sure Your School Follows the Rules

If you are a student at a Caribbean medical school that has accused you of a Title IX violation, you're probably finding yourself in a welter of confusing, bureaucratic procedures. You're probably also terrified—and understandably so. Although disciplinary actions vary according to the severity of the violation and individual school policy, at every school expulsion is a possibility. There goes the dream of becoming a surgeon, an orthopedist, an anesthesiologist.

Title IX charges, though, do not call for panic. Nor do they call for throwing in the proverbial towel. The Title IX adjudication process is governed by rules. Your school must follow those rules to be in compliance with Title IX policy. According to the U.S. Department of Education's policy outlining these rules, “Complainants [the victims of the alleged violation] and respondents [the person allegedly responsible for the violation] must have strong, clear procedural rights in a predictable, transparent grievance process designed to reach reliable outcomes.”

To protect the rights of both complainants and respondents, the Department of Education requires that a school's adjudication process conform to specified requirements—whether that school is in the U.S., the Caribbean, or elsewhere. Department policy says that schools must ensure the following protections:

  • Both parties must be notified in writing of the allegations and given an opportunity to retain an attorney and submit evidence
  • Pursuit of an informal resolution process such as mediation must have the consent of both parties
  • The adjudication process must proceed from the presumption that the respondent is not responsible for the violation. The school bears the burden of proof in this process
  • Neither the school's Title IX coordinator nor the investigator in the case can act as the decision-maker in the case
  • The case must be heard in a live hearing. Cross examination of witnesses by attorneys or advisors must be allowed
  • Both parties must be notified in writing of the decision maker's reasons for the decision. Both parties must be allowed to appeal the decision
  • The school must protect both complainant and respondent from retaliation
  • The school must make all Title IX training materials publicly available on its website

Each school creates its own procedures for dealing with Title IX allegations based on these Department of Education rules. This means the process will be different at each university. For example, the Title IX policy at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine recognizes the federal rules listed above and adds a provision that says that a respondent may be removed from school prior to adjudication if they are believed to pose an ongoing threat to the complainant.

Many of these rules are designed to protect the respondent from a determination of guilt based on bias and to protect against disproportionate punishment. If a respondent is removed from campus due to a perceived threat, for instance, they must be allowed to meet with the university's Title IX coordinator prior to removal or as soon as possible thereafter to present evidence that the removal is unwarranted. At the AUC School of Medicine, for example, Title IX policy requires the university to take the least restrictive course of action necessary to maintain the safety of the complainant and others involved in the case.

While the adjudication process will vary slightly from school to school, each university's policy will conform to the rules laid out by the Department of Education. The rules exist to ensure that both parties are given a fair hearing, free from bias or favor, and that everyone's rights are respected and preserved. Failure to adhere to the Department's Title IX rules can corrupt the process and result in unjust—and potentially very damaging—decisions for any of the parties. It is imperative that schools meet the requirements for Title IX adjudication. Any lapses in the process can be grounds for having the case dismissed.

A Title IX Accusation Is the Beginning, Not the End

If you've been named as a respondent in a Title IX complaint—that is, if you are accused of a Title IX violation—the first thing you need to do is ensure that you have a skilled and experienced defense attorney on your side. Your school may offer you an advisor to guide you through the process. That advisor, though, is not likely to be an attorney. That advisor is also likely to be an employee of your school, meaning that they have conflicts of interest and lack the independence to aggressively and effectively represent you. Instead, retain an experienced attorney to assist you in your defense. You could try to handle your defense on your own, but why would you when your future as a medical professional hangs in the balance?

Your Title IX defense attorney will help you obtain your university's written Title IX policy. (The Department of Education mandates that this policy be publicly available on the school's website, but many schools make it difficult to find.) Your Title IX defense attorney will make sure you understand the steps the university is required to take, while you keep a detailed record of each step, including dates, written and spoken communications, persons involved, issues raised, and outcomes.

The third thing to do is remember that a Title IX accusation is not the end of the world but the beginning of a process. National Title IX defense attorney Joseph D. Lento, who has handled hundreds of Title IX cases nationwide and abroad, can provide invaluable assistance at this precarious time by, among other things:

  • ensuring that your school follows its own rules for Title IX adjudication as well as Department of Education rules
  • helping to prepare your responses to specific aspects of the case as it progresses
  • investigating and cross-examining the complainant and witnesses
  • assisting with your appeal, if necessary, or litigating the university's decision in court
  • negotiating disciplinary terms with university administrators, if it comes to that, to avoid expulsion
  • anticipating any possible criminal charges beyond the campus procedures and coordinating your approach to both processes

Much of the process ahead will be influenced by campus culture and the social mores of its Caribbean community. Medical schools also have customs, attitudes, and expectations unique to them. Different understandings of the nature of consent and privacy, for instance, have to be untangled and brought into compliance with policy and law. With his extensive work in higher education law, national Title IX defense attorney Joseph Lento can help you navigate these difficult waters.

Above all, a skilled and experienced Title IX defense attorney like Joseph D. Lento can hold eligible medical schools in the Caribbean accountable by making sure they follow Department of Education rules for Title IX adjudications and disciplinary processes, as well as their own procedures. If they fail to do so, he can help you sue the school for violating your right to due process.

Above All, Take Action

As a student in a professional program, you are learning to take responsible action using all appropriate resources, especially the knowledge and skills of other professionals. If you faced a medical crisis, you would seek the medical experts and consultants who had the knowledge, skill, and experience necessary to make the best of the situation. The same is true with Title IX charges. Title IX charges are so serious that you should treat them like other professional crises.

That strategic, effective treatment means taking prompt action to turn the tide of a Title IX accusation. A Title IX accusation of sexual misconduct instantly puts the accused student at a disadvantage. You can promptly lose the right and opportunity to continue your studies, contact instructors, classmates, and staff, and access the school's grounds and resources, all while waiting for the Title IX process to proceed. Don't leave yourself at such a disadvantage. Get the professional attorney help that you need. Don't let your school derail your medical career. If you are a student at a Caribbean medical school accused of a Title IX violation, national Title IX defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will make sure your rights are respected, and the adjudication process is fair and legal. Defend and defeat false, unfair, and exaggerated Title IX charges. Call attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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