One of the federal laws that impacts colleges in Oregon is Title IX. This law prohibits sexual misconduct like harassment or assault but also threatens to strip a school of its federal funding if allegations are not vigorously investigated and adjudicated. If you are the one accused of violating Title IX, you need an attorney to act as your advisor.
Your Right to a Title IX Advisor
If you have been accused of violating the edicts of Title IX, you have a right to an advisor to help guide you through the upcoming process. While many people choose faculty members or family to be their advisor, you should seriously consider appointing a lawyer, instead. Attorneys are at home with the adversarial nature of investigations and hearings, familiar with the process of gathering evidence and presenting your case, and knowledgeable when it comes to the unique process your school uses to investigate Title IX claims.
The Title IX Investigation Process in Oregon
While every college and university in Oregon has its own unique process for investigating and hearing Title IX claims, they all following the same basic framework:
- The complaint initiates the process. Title IX claims begin when a complaint is filed with the school by someone who is accusing you of violating Title IX's prohibitions. This complaint sets the rest of the process into motion.
- Interim measures such as no-contact orders are often filed by the school. The school typically responds to the complaint by immediately filing a no-contact order against you. This prohibits you from having any contact with the person behind the complaint. Housing and even classes can be reassigned to ensure compliance with the no-contact order. Interim measures can also include a ban from living on campus, a ban from participation on sports teams, and in some cases, an interim suspension.
- Allegations in the complaint are investigated. The school's Title IX officer or an independent investigator will then look into the allegations that are laid out in the complaint. This often culminates by interviewing the person being accused of a Title IX violation. Other steps include obtaining all relevant evidence related to the allegations. A respondent cannot depend on the school to mount his or her defense, however. To achieve a favorable outcome, a respondent and his/her advisor must take all allowable steps to make certain the investigation is as fair as possible to the respondent's interests.
- A hearing to determine guilt. Although many schools determine responsibility at the conclusion of the Title IX investigation, some colleges and universities use the investigation results to proceed to a hearing. At such schools, the evidence from the investigation will be presented at a hearing according to your school's unique specifications and processes. The panel hearing the evidence will determine whether Title IX was violated, or not.
- Sanctions issued. If the panel decides that Title IX was violated, it will issue sanctions that can range from a warning all the way up to expulsion from school.
- The appeals process. You have a right to appeal from the outcome of the hearing, but need to point to a defect in the underlying process if you want to challenge the determination that you violated Title IX. If you are only challenging the sanction that you received, you can always lodge an appeal.
Oregon's Title IX Advisor Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a student discipline defense attorney who advises students accused of violating Title IX. By serving as your advisor in Oregon in this difficult time, he can help you build your defense and present your best case to the panel through the course of the Title IX investigation. Through his help, you can maximize your odds of success. Contact him online or by phone at 888-535-3686.
Oregon 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:
- Blue Mountain Community College
- Central Oregon Community College
- Chemeketa Community College
- Clackamas Community College
- Clatsop Community College
- Columbia Gorge Community College
- Concordia University Portland
- Corban University
- DeVry University Oregon
- Eastern Oregon University
- Everest College Portland
- George Fox University
- Heald College Portland
- ITT Technical Institute Portland
- Klamath Community College
- Lane Community College
- Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Portland
- Lewis & Clark College
- Linfield College McMinnville Campus
- Linn Benton Community College
- Marylhurst University
- Mount Angel Seminary
- Mt Hood Community College
- Multnomah University
- New Hope Christian College
- Northwest Christian University
- Oregon Coast Community College
- Oregon College of Art and Craft
- Oregon Institute of Technology
- Oregon State University
- Pacific Northwest College of Art
- Pacific University
- Pioneer Pacific College
- Portland Community College
- Portland State University
- Reed College
- Rogue Community College
- Sanford Brown College Portland
- Southern Oregon University
- Southwestern Oregon Community College
- The Art Institute of Portland
- Tillamook Bay Community College
- Treasure Valley Community College
- Umpqua Community College
- University of Oregon
- University of Phoenix Oregon Campus
- University of Portland
- University of Western States
- Warner Pacific College
- Western Oregon University
- Willamette 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 Oregon and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.