Title IX is a federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination within federally funded higher education institutions. Sexual misconduct in any of its forms - sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence etc. - is legally regarded as gender discrimination. Therefore, any actions that constitute sexual misconduct is considered a violation of Title IX. In compliance with this federal law, colleges and universities 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. One of the most important phases of this process is the investigation period. During this period and throughout the entire process, students will need the assistance of an outside party, known as an advisor, to navigate the process.
The Role of an Advisor
Individuals who bring allegations (complainants) and people who respond to said allegations (respondents) are afforded the right to choose anyone they would like to serve as their advisor. This right is extended because both complainants and respondents will need all the help they can get in this intricate, confusing and emotionally charged process. Choosing the right person to be your advisor is the key to maintaining an equitable process.
The Benefits of Choosing an Attorney as Your Advisor
An attorney has been through the Title IX process numerous times and understands what respondents must do to adequately prepare for a hearing or investigation. They can also ensure that a respondent's due process rights are intact and properly exercised.
The Title IX Process
- A complaint is filed: colleges and universities encourage each and every member of the community to report all instances of alleged sexual misconduct, whether it be rumored, witnessed, or personally experienced. Virtually anyone can file a report, from alleged victims and spectators to school staff.
- Interim measures: The school may implement interim measures to severely limit the interactions between respondents and complainants. These measures include a no-contact order, housing reassignments, class schedule changes, and even restricted access to certain areas of campus. The majority of these measures solely affect the respondent.
- The investigation: A formal investigation will be conducted by an investigator. During this period, all involved parties will be thoroughly interviewed for the purposes of collecting information. At some schools, the Title IX process ends here. An investigator comes up with a finding that will either assign “responsibility” to a respondent or rid them of their charges.
- The hearing: Other schools resolve Title IX matters via the hearing process. During a hearing, a panel comprised of students and staff will hear testimonies, witness statements, and the presentation of evidence to deliberate and 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 wide range of potential sanctions may be imposed. Respondents have been subject to orders to attend an intervention program, the removal of scholarships, suspension, and expulsion.
- Appeals: An appeal is a request for a school to reassess its decision based on an error made at some point throughout the Title IX process. If any party is dissatisfied with a final decision, he or she may file an appeal.
Kentucky Title IX Advisor
If you attend a Kentucky 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.
Kentucky 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:
- Alice Lloyd College
- Asbury University
- Ashland Community and Technical College
- ATA College
- Beckfield College Florence
- Bellarmine University
- Big Sandy Community and Technical College
- Bluegrass Community and Technical College
- Brescia University
- Brown Mackie College Hopkinsville
- Brown Mackie College Louisville
- Brown Mackie College Northern Kentucky
- Campbellsville University
- Centre College
- Clear Creek Baptist Bible College
- Daymar College Bellevue
- Daymar College Bowling Green
- Daymar College Louisville
- Daymar College Louisville
- Daymar College Madisonville
- Daymar College Online
- Daymar College Owensboro
- Daymar College Paducah Main
- Daymar College Scottsville
- DeVry University Kentucky
- Eastern Kentucky University
- Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
- Gateway Community and Technical College
- Georgetown College Georgetown, Kentucky
- Hazard Community and Technical College
- Henderson Community College
- Hopkinsville Community College
- ITT Technical Institute Lexington
- ITT Technical Institute Louisville
- Jefferson Community and Technical College
- Kentucky Christian University
- Kentucky Mountain Bible College
- Kentucky State University
- Kentucky Wesleyan College
- Lincoln College of Technology Florence
- Lindsey Wilson College
- Madisonville Community College
- Maysville Community and Technical College
- MedTech College Lexington Campus
- Mid Continent University
- Midway College
- Morehead State University
- Murray State University
- National College Lexington
- Northern Kentucky University
- Owensboro Community and Technical College
- Saint Catharine College
- Simmons College of Kentucky
- Somerset Community College
- Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College
- Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College
- Spalding University
- Spencerian College
- Spencerian College Lexington
- Sullivan College of Technology and Design
- Sullivan University
- Thomas More College
- Transylvania University
- Union College
- University of Kentucky
- University of Louisville
- University of Phoenix Louisville Campus
- University of Pikeville
- University of the Cumberlands
- West Kentucky Community and Technical College
- Western Kentucky 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 Kentucky and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.