Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in federally funded institutions. Since the vast majority of schools in Louisiana are funded by the government in some capacity, Title IX is enforced in many of the state's colleges and universities. Sexual misconduct in all of its forms - sexual harassment, sexual assault, 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 federal guidelines, colleges and universities must internally adjudicate all complaints of sexual misconduct committed by and/or against college students.
Schools use the Title IX process to determine potential violations. During the process, students will need the assistance of an outside party, known as an advisor, to help them navigate it.
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 they feel would be best to serve as their advisor. This right is extended because both complainants and respondents will need all the help they can get in the complex Title IX process. Choosing the right attorney will make all the difference in the outcome of a respondent's case.
The Benefits of Choosing an Attorney as Your Advisor
An attorney's assistance is crucial in the Title IX process. They've likely been through the process numerous times and understand the full extent of what respondents should do to adequately prepare for 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 all rumored, witnessed, or experienced instances of sexual misconduct.
- Interim measures: Once a complaint is filed, a school must jump into action to protect complainants and other involved parties from retaliation. If deemed necessary, a school may impose interim measures upon respondents. These measures could consist of a no-contact order, housing reassignment, class schedule changes, restricted access to parts of campus, and more.
- The investigation: A formal investigation will be conducted by the school. For some schools, the Title IX process ends here. Respondents, complainants, witnesses, and other relevant parties will be interviewed for purposes of collecting information. An investigator will come up with a determination based on the facts.
- The hearing: In other schools, the Title IX process ends after a hearing. A hearing is the final opportunity for all parties to share their account of the alleged incident. A panel comprised of students and staff will listen to statements, testimony, and evidence. After the hearing, they will deliberate and make a determination.
- Sanctions: If an investigator or hearing panel determines that a respondent is “responsible” for violating Title IX, a range of sanctions may be imposed in response. Respondents have been subject to sanctions like scholarship removal, suspension, treatment orders, 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 a final decision has the right to file an appeal.
Louisiana Title IX Advisor
If you attend a Louisiana 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.
Louisiana 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:
- Acadiana Technical College Lafayette Campus
- Baton Rouge College
- Baton Rouge Community College
- Blue Cliff College Alexandria
- Blue Cliff College Houma
- Blue Cliff College Metairie
- Blue Cliff College Shreveport
- Bossier Parish Community College
- Capital Area Technical College Baton Rouge Campus
- Career Technical College Shreveport
- Centenary College of Louisiana
- Central Louisiana Technical College Alexandria Campus
- Court Reporting Institute of Louisiana
- Delgado Community College
- Delta School of Business and Technology
- Dillard University
- Grambling State University
- Herzing University Kenner
- ITT Technical Institute Baton Rouge
- ITT Technical Institute Saint Rose
- L E Fletcher Technical Community College
- Louisiana College
- Louisiana Delta Community College Monroe Campus
- Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical College
- Louisiana State University Eunice
- Louisiana State University Alexandria
- Louisiana State University Shreveport
- Louisiana Tech University
- Loyola University New Orleans
- McCann School of Business & Technology Monroe
- McNeese State University
- Medvance Institute Baton Rouge
- Nicholls State University
- Northeast Louisiana Technical College Delta Ouachita Campus
- Northshore Technical Community College
- Northwest Louisiana Technical College
- Northwestern State University of Louisiana
- Nunez Community College
- Our Lady of Holy Cross College
- Our Lady of the Lake College
- Remington College Baton Rouge Campus
- Remington College Lafayette Campus
- Remington College Shreveport Campus
- River Parishes Community College
- Saint Joseph Seminary College
- South Central Louisiana Technical College Young Memorial Campus
- South Louisiana Community College
- Southeastern Louisiana University
- Southern University and A & M College
- Southern University at New Orleans
- Southern University at Shreveport
- Sowela Technical Community College
- Tulane University of Louisiana
- University of Louisiana at Lafayette
- University of Louisiana Monroe
- University of New Orleans
- University of Phoenix Baton Rouge
- University of Phoenix Lafayette
- University of Phoenix Louisiana Campus
- University of Phoenix Shreveport Bossier
- Virginia College
- Xavier University of Louisiana
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 Louisiana and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.