Defense for Sexual Misconduct Allegations at Missouri State University

Missouri State University is a community of people with respect for diversity, the safety, dignity, and equality of all its members. To that end, Missouri State prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or any other protected class.

Like most colleges, Missouri State takes sexual misconduct very seriously and will not hesitate to launch formal grievance and disciplinary procedures against students accused of sexual harassment. If you are facing an allegation of sexual misconduct, your college education could be on the line. The Lento Law Firm can help protect your rights, interests, and future, and the following information will help you better understand the path forward.

College Sexual Misconduct and Title IX at Missouri State University

At Missouri State, there is only the Title IX policy that pertains directly to sexual misconduct. The Missouri State policy Op1-02-11 Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure covers all conduct related to sexual harassment, sexual violence, and dating violence. If a report of sexual misconduct does not fall within the scope of the Title IX policy, however, the Office of Student Conduct may address it under the Op1-02-2 Discrimination Complaint and Investigation Procedures. These procedures are for all forms of discrimination based on a protected class at Missouri State, not a separate policy specifically for sexual misconduct.

What Counts as a Title IX Violation at Missouri State?

The following actions fall under the Title IX definition of sexual harassment and are therefore subject to the Title grievance procedure:

  • Dating violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Fondling
  • Forcible sexual offense (rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, fondling)
  • Hostile environment harassment
  • Incest
  • Nonforcible sexual offense (incest and statutory rape)
  • Quid pro quo harassment
  • Rape

Which Sexual Misconduct Violations Do Not Fall Under Missouri State's Title IX Policy?

Sex discrimination is a means of discrimination wherein a person is treated inequitably based on sex, marital status, family status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Sex discrimination is not covered by Missouri State's Title IX policy. Instead, reports of sex discrimination proceed under the Discrimination Complaint and Investigation Procedures.

Missouri State University Title IX Complaint Process

The process for handling formal Title IX complaints has four main parts: Filing a complaint, investigation, live hearing, and appeals.

Filing a Formal Complaint

Anyone may report allegations of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator at Missouri State. The Title IX Coordinator will reach out to the person making the allegation (the complainant) and notify them of how to file a formal complaint.

Investigation of a Formal Complaint

Following a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator notifies the complainant and accused student (respondent) of the complaint. The university can dismiss a formal complaint if the conduct doesn't constitute Title IX sexual harassment, didn't occur in the university's education program or activity, or didn't occur in the US.

During an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator may collect evidence and conduct witness interviews. Before completing a Title IX investigation and making a report, the respondent and complainant will have an opportunity to review the results of the Title IX Coordinator's investigation and provide a written response.

Live Hearing

After the final investigative report, the grievance process moves to a live hearing. The Title IX Coordinator selects a decision-maker to facilitate the hearing and schedules a time and date. At the hearing, the decision-maker can pose questions to any party, including the respondent, complainant, and witnesses. Throughout the grievance process and at the hearing, the parties may have an advisor to represent them.

After the hearing is over, the decision-maker will evaluate the evidence and determine responsibility. If there is no appeal, the decision is final, and the university may impose sanctions on students found responsible for sexual harassment.

Appeals

Either party may appeal the determination of the decision-maker within five days by submitting a written appeal to the Title IX Coordinator. The non-appealing party has five days to respond and may support or challenge the appeal. A new decision maker is assigned to the case for review and can either affirm the original decision, reverse it, or deny the appeal. If a responsible determination stands after the appeal process, the decision is final.

Missouri State Disciplinary Process for Sex Discrimination

The process in the Discrimination Complaint and Investigation Procedures policy is similar to the university's Title IX procedure, however, there is no hearing. The steps are as follows:

  • Consultation: An individual who feels they have experienced discrimination can consult with either the Equity Investigator or Title IX Coordinator.
  • Informal procedure: The Equity Investigator can resolve the matter directly with the complainant without contacting anyone else.
  • Formal procedure: When the informal complaint procedure doesn't resolve a matter, it moves to the formal procedure. This process requires a formal written complaint, investigation, and report by the Equity Investigator and a final determination by the appropriate university administrator.

Sexual harassment complaints that do not fall under the Title IX scope go directly to the formal complaint procedure under the Discrimination Complaint and Investigation Procedures policy.

What's at Stake for Students Found Responsible for Sexual Harassment at Missouri State?

Disciplinary sanctions may include any of the following:

  • Loss of privileges
  • Level two probation
  • Denial of privilege to re-enroll
  • University housing probation
  • University housing suspension
  • University housing expulsion
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal
  • Revocation of degree
  • Withholding of degree

How Can a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Help?

If you are accused of sexual misconduct at Missouri State University, you may feel overwhelmed by the process. Having an experienced attorney-advisor by your side to guide you through each step can help you better defend yourself against a sexual misconduct allegation. A student defense attorney-advisor can also, for example, make certain an investigation is fair and impartial, can coach you on how to answer questions at your hearing and how to conduct yourself, and ultimately, can work towards a fair process and the best possible outcome.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm have helped hundreds of college students nationwide with sexual misconduct issues at their schools. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to help protect your future.

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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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