Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that condemns discrimination “on the basis of sex” within federally funded educational institutions. The vast majority of colleges and universities in the state of Iowa are funded by the government to some extent, which means that Title IX is enforced in this institutions. Sexual misconduct in all of its forms - sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, etc. - is legally regarded as gender discrimination. So, any actions that constitute this misconduct is considered a violation of Title IX. Once a school receives notice of a potential violation, in compliance with federal guidelines, colleges and universities must resolve all complaints of sexual misconduct committed by and/or against students.
Schools use the Title IX resolution process to determine if a violation has been committed. During this process, students will need an outside party, known as an advisor, to navigate the process alongside them.
The Role of an Advisor
People who bring allegations (complainants) and those who respond to said allegations (respondents) are afforded the right to choose anyone to serve as their advisor. This right is extended to complainants and respondents because they will need all the help they can get in the complex and oftentimes overwhelming Title IX process. Choosing the right person to occupy the role of an advisor will make all the difference between achieving a successful case outcome and letting false or exaggerated claims get you sanctioned.
The Benefits of Choosing an Attorney as Your Advisor
It's important for respondents to understand that the assistance of an attorney as an advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. An experienced attorney has been through this process numerous times and understands what it takes for a respondent to adequately prepare for an investigation or hearing. An attorney can also, more importantly, make sure your rights are protected throughout the entire process.
The Title IX Process
- A complaint is filed: Colleges and universities encourage each member of the campus community to report any instances of sexual misconduct.
- Interim measures: Once a complaint is filed, it is the school's responsibility to ensure complainants and the rest of the campus community are safe from harm. In an effort to prevent retaliation, a school may impose interim measures upon a respondent. These measures could consist of the following depending on the circumstances: a no-contact order, housing rearrangement plans, class schedule modifications, restricted access from certain areas of campus, and more.
- The investigation: A formal investigation will be conducted by the school. At some schools, this is the final step. In these institutions, an investigator will come up with a determination based on the facts collected.
- The hearing: Other schools resolve Title IX matters via hearing. During a hearing, a panel composed of students and staff will listen to testimony, witness accounts, and the presentation of evidence before deliberating. After deliberation, a final decision will be made.
- Sanctions: If an investigator or hearing panel determines a respondent is indeed “responsible” for violating Title IX, a wide range of potential sanctions may be imposed. Respondents have been subject to sanctions like treatment orders, scholarship removal, suspension and expulsion for Title IX violations.
- Appeals: An appeal is a request for a panel or investigator to reconsider the decision they made based on an error made at some point during the process. Any party that is dissatisfied with a final decision has the right to appeal.
Iowa Title IX Advisor
If you attend an Iowa 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.
Iowa 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:
- AIB College of Business
- Allen College
- Briar Cliff University
- Brown Mackie College Quad Cities
- Buena Vista University
- Central College
- Clarke University
- Coe College
- Cornell College
- Des Moines Area Community College
- Divine Word College
- Dordt College
- Drake University
- Eastern Iowa Community College District
- Ellsworth Community College
- Emmaus Bible College
- Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary
- Graceland University Lamoni
- Grand View University
- Grinnell College
- Hamilton Technical College
- Hawkeye Community College
- Indian Hills Community College
- Iowa Central Community College
- Iowa Lakes Community College
- Iowa State University
- Iowa Wesleyan College
- Iowa Western Community College
- ITT Technical Institute Cedar Rapids
- ITT Technical Institute Clive
- Kaplan University Cedar Falls Campus
- Kaplan University Cedar Rapids Campus
- Kaplan University Council Bluffs Campus
- Kaplan University Davenport Campus
- Kaplan University Des Moines Campus
- Kaplan University Mason City Campus
- Kirkwood Community College
- Loras College
- Luther College
- Maharishi University of Management
- Marshalltown Community College
- Mercy College of Health Sciences
- Morningside College
- Mount Mercy University
- North Iowa Area Community College
- Northeast Iowa Community College Calmar
- Northwest Iowa Community College
- Northwestern College
- Palmer College of Chiropractic Davenport
- Saint Ambrose University
- Simpson College
- Southeastern Community College
- Southwestern Community College
- St Luke's College
- University of Dubuque
- University of Iowa
- University of Northern Iowa
- University of Phoenix Des Moines Campus
- Upper Iowa University
- Vatterott College Des Moines
- Waldorf College
- Wartburg College
- Western Iowa Tech Community College
- William Penn University
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 Iowa and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.