Title IX is a federal law that condemns discrimination “on the basis of sex” within federally funded institutions. Sexual misconduct is legally regarded as gender discrimination. Therefore, any actions that constitute sexual misconduct will be considered a violation of Title IX. Under this law, higher education institutions must internally adjudicate all alleged instances of sexual misconduct committed by/and or against students.
The Title IX process is used by administrations to determine potential violations. The investigation period is one of the most important phases of this process. During this period and throughout the entire process, students will need the assistance of an outside party, known as an advisor, to help them navigate the process.
The Role of an Advisor
People who bring allegations (complainants) and those who respond to said allegations (respondents) are granted the right to select anyone they feel would best occupy the role of an advisor. This right is extended because both complainants and respondents will need assistance in the complex and oftentimes overwhelming Title IX process. Choosing the right person will make all the difference in maintaining an equitable process and achieving a favorable outcome.
The Benefits of Choosing an Attorney as Your Advisor
An attorney's assistance is invaluable in this process. They've likely been through the Title IX process many times, and understand what respondents must do to adequately prepare to defend themselves in an investigation or hearing. An attorney can also ensure that a respondent's rights are protected and properly exercised.
The Title IX Process
- A complaint is filed: higher education institutions encourage all members of the campus community to report any witnessed, rumored, or experienced incidents of alleged sexual misconduct.
- Interim measures: If deemed appropriate, a school may choose to implement interim measures to minimize the interactions between respondents and all other involved parties. Measures like a no-contact order, housing rearrangements, class schedule changes, and even restriction from certain parts of the campus may be imposed upon a respondent.
- The investigation: A formal investigation will be conducted by a sole investigator or a hired outside team. During this period, all involved parties will be thoroughly interviewed for the purposes of collecting information. For some schools, the Title IX process ends here. The investigator comes up with a finding and gives a determination.
- The hearing: In other schools, Title IX charges are mitigated via the hearing process. The hearing is the final opportunity for both parties to share their account of the alleged incident. A panel comprised of students and staff will hear testimony, statements, witness accounts, and the presentation of evidence and deliberate. Based on the facts, they will come up with a determination.
- Sanctions: If an investigator or hearing panel determines a respondent is indeed “responsible” for violating Title IX and committing sexual misconduct, a range of sanctions may be imposed in response. Respondents have been subject to treatment orders, the removal of scholarships, suspension, and expulsion.
- Appeals: An appeal is a request for a school to reconsider its decision based on an error made at some point during the process. Any party that is dissatisfied with the outcome of an investigation finding or panel decision may file an appeal - which is a process in and of itself.
Indiana Title IX Advisor
If you attend an Indiana college or university and are facing sexual misconduct allegations, it is crucial you contact an attorney. For students who haven't been through this process before, it can be confusing and scary. Preparation is the key to favorable results. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience preparing respondents for an investigation and the entire Title IX process. Contact him today for help.
Indiana colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations (in addition to hearings and appeals) include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Ancilla College
- Anderson University
- Ball State University
- Bethel College Mishawaka
- Brown Mackie College Fort Wayne
- Brown Mackie College Indianapolis
- Brown Mackie College Merrillville
- Brown Mackie College Michigan City
- Brown Mackie College South Bend
- Butler University
- Calumet College of Saint Joseph
- College of Court Reporting Inc.
- Crossroads Bible College
- DePauw University
- DeVry University Indiana
- Earlham College
- Fortis College Indianapolis
- Franklin College
- Goshen College
- Grace College and Theological Seminary
- Hanover College
- Harrison College Anderson
- Harrison College Columbus
- Harrison College Elkhart
- Harrison College Evansville
- Harrison College Fort Wayne
- Harrison College Indianapolis East
- Harrison College Lafayette
- Harrison College Muncie
- Harrison College Northwest
- Harrison College Terre Haute
- Holy Cross College
- Huntington University
- Indiana Institute of Technology
- Indiana State University
- Indiana University Bloomington
- Indiana University East
- Indiana University Kokomo
- Indiana University Northwest
- Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne
- Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
- Indiana University South Bend
- Indiana University Southeast
- Indiana Wesleyan University
- International Business College
- International Business College Indianapolis
- ITT Technical Institute Fort Wayne
- ITT Technical Institute Indianapolis
- ITT Technical Institute Merrillville
- ITT Technical Institute Newburgh
- ITT Technical Institute South Bend
- Ivy Tech Community College Bloominton
- Ivy Tech Community College Central Indiana
- Ivy Tech Community College Columbus
- Ivy Tech Community College East Central
- Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo
- Ivy Tech Community College Lafayette
- Ivy Tech Community College Northcentral
- Ivy Tech Community College Northeast
- Ivy Tech Community College Northwest
- Ivy Tech Community College Richmond
- Ivy Tech Community College South Central
- Ivy Tech Community College Southeast
- Ivy Tech Community College Southwest
- Ivy Tech Community College Wabash Valley
- Manchester College
- Marian University
- Martin University
- MedTech College
- MedTech College Ft Wayne Campus
- MedTech College Greenwood Campus
- Mid America College of Funeral Service
- Oakland City University
- Purdue University Calumet Campus
- Purdue University Main Campus
- Purdue University North Central Campus
- Rose Hulman Institute of Technology
- Saint Josephs College
- Saint Mary's College
- Saint Mary of the Woods College
- Taylor University
- The Art Institute of Indianapolis
- Trine University
- Trine University Regional/Non Traditional Campuses
- University of Evansville
- University of Indianapolis
- University of Notre Dame
- University of Phoenix Indianapolis Campus
- University of Phoenix Northwest Indiana Campus
- University of Saint Francis Fort Wayne
- University of Southern Indiana
- Valparaiso University
- Vincennes University
- Wabash College
It is critical to make certain the Title IX investigation at your college or university is handled properly and that the accused student's or employee's interests are protected from as early as possible during the sexual misconduct investigative process. One major reason is because even at schools 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 Title IX 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. Some people will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," their school 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 and Title IX charges would not exist.
Fighting passionately for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation for a decade, 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 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 sexual misconduct investigations and disciplinary cases in Indiana and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.