One of the federal laws that aim to protect civil rights is Title IX, which prohibits sexual discrimination in higher education. However, because Title IX requires colleges and universities in North Dakota to aggressively investigate and prosecute potential violations or risk losing their federal funding, many students accused of violating Title IX find themselves in danger because the stakes are always high whether accused of sexual assault, harassment, or any form of sexual misconduct.
Hiring an attorney to help guide you through the Title IX investigation and process is one of the best ways to protect your interests, your rights, and your future.
Title IX Advisors and Why You Should Choose an Attorney
People who have been accused of violating Title IX in North Dakota have a right to an advisor to help them through the process. While many people choose parents, friends, or trusted faculty members to be their advisor, there is a lot to be said for choosing a Title IX defense attorney, instead.
Lawyers have extensive experience in arguing on behalf of their clients and have a much deeper understanding of the Title IX process and how evidence can work for or against your interests. Having these skills on your side can make a huge difference in the outcome of your Title IX case.
North Dakota's Title IX Process
Accusations of a violation of Title IX follow a set process:
- The initial complaint: Everything starts with the initial allegation of sexual misconduct. When someone makes this allegation to the college or university, it sets the Title IX wheels in motion.
- Interim measures: Many schools jump into immediate action if the allegation is severe enough or there are signs that further danger is possible. No-contact orders are often sent to the person being accused, telling them to stay away from the person who filed the complaint and stay out of contact with them. Housing and even classes can be reassigned to make sure this happens.
- The investigation: The school's Title IX officer or an independent investigation firm typically gets involved at this stage to gather evidence related to the allegation. This can include an interview with the person being accused in addition to other witnesses, the submission of relevant documentation and other evidence, and so forth.
- Hearing: A hearing is often set to determine whether Title IX was violated, or not. This hearing often has extensive rules and procedures that are set out in the student handbook or manual, and which are unique to each college in North Dakota.
- Sanctions issued: If the hearing body determines that there was a violation of Title IX, the next step is to issue sanctions. There is a huge range of sanctions, from a warning all the way to expulsion from school.
- Appeals: Students who are unhappy with the outcome can appeal the results of the hearing; for example, pointing to a defect in the proceedings that could have impacted the outcome.
Joseph D. Lento: North Dakota's Title IX Advisor
Joseph D. Lento advises students who have been accused of violating Title at their school in North Dakota. With his representation and advice, you can fight against the groundless accusations being laid against you and protect your rights and your future. Contact him online or by phone at 888-535-3686.
North Dakota 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:
- Bismarck State College
- Cankdeska Cikana Community College
- Dakota College at Bottineau
- Dickinson State University
- Fort Berthold Community College
- Jamestown College
- Lake Region State College
- Mayville State University
- Minot State University
- North Dakota State College of Science
- North Dakota State University Main Campus
- Sitting Bull College
- Trinity Bible College
- Turtle Mountain Community College
- United Tribes Technical College
- University of Mary
- University of North Dakota
- Valley City State University
- Williston State 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 North Dakota and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.