Colleges and universities are responsible for internally adjudicating all allegations of sexual misconduct under Title IX. The resolution process consists of several phases. One of the utmost important ones is the investigation period. Schools use this, along with other methods (to be mentioned in this article) to determine if there was a violation.
The Role of an Advisor
People who bring charges (complainants) and people responding to said charges (respondents) are afforded the right to choose an advisor. This right is extended because Title IX has been known to be a complex and emotional process that will require the assistance of another party. Choosing the right person to occupy this role will make all the difference in a case outcome.
The Benefits of Choosing an Attorney as Your Title IX Advisor
It is in the best interest of respondents to choose an attorney as their advisor. An experienced attorney advisor has been through the process numerous times and understands what it takes to achieve a favorable outcome. They're also familiar with a respondent's rights and can ensure that they are protected and properly exercised.
The Title IX Process
Here's a general overview of the Title IX process in Connecticut schools:
- A complaint is filed: Colleges strongly encourage every member of the campus community to report all instances of rumored, witnessed, and experienced instances of alleged sexual misconduct. Therefore, virtually anyone can file a complaint, from a “victim” to school staff.
- Interim measures: When a complaint is received, the school's primary concern is to protect a complainant and the campus community from retaliation. If a college deems it appropriate, interim measures may be implemented. Measures like a no-contact order, schedule changes, housing modifications and more may be ordered to minimize the interactions between respondents and complainants.
- The investigation: A formal investigation will be conducted by the school. Complainants, respondents, witnesses, and other relevant parties will be thoroughly interviewed for purposes of gathering information. Based on the facts, the investigator(s) will come up with a finding. At many schools, the sexual misconduct investigative process is the final step in the resolution process. In these cases, the investigator will provide a determination of responsibility without the opportunity for a hearing on the matter.
- The hearing: At schools where a hearing is used to resolve Title IX charges, it will be the final opportunity for both sides to share their account of events. A panel comprised of students and staff will listen to witness accounts, final statements from complainants and respondents, and testimony from experts to deliberate and ultimately come up with a determination.
- Sanctioning: If the investigation or hearing concludes that a respondent is “responsible” for the alleged Title IX violation, sanctions will be imposed. The severity of the sanction depends on the circumstances. Respondents have experienced a range of sanctions, from treatment and therapy to suspension and expulsion.
- Appeals: An appeal is a request from the school to reassess its decision based on an error made at some point during the process. Any party who is dissatisfied with the outcome of an investigation, hearing, or recommended sanction may file an appeal - which is a process in and of itself.
Connecticut Title IX Advisor
If you attend a Connecticut 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 at 888-535-3686.
Connecticut 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:
- Eastern Connecticut State University
- Central Connecticut State University
- Southern Connecticut State University
- Western Connecticut State University
- University of Connecticut
- Asnuntuck Community College
- Capital Community College
- Charter Oak State College
- Gateway Community College
- Housatonic Community College
- Manchester Community College
- Middlesex Community College
- Naugatuck Valley Community College
- Northwestern Connecticut Community College
- Norwalk Community College
- Quinebaug Valley Community College
- Three Rivers Community College
- Tunxis Community College
Federal-Level Military Academy
- United States Coast Guard Academy – (exempt from Title IX and the Clery Act)
Private Colleges and Universities
- Albertus Magnus College
- Connecticut College
- Fairfield University
- Goodwin College
- Hartford Seminary
- Holy Apostles College and Seminary
- Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
- Mitchell College
- New England Baptist College
- University of New Haven
- Paier College of Art
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer at Hartford
- Sacred Heart University
- St. Vincent's College
- Trinity College
- University of Bridgeport
- University of Hartford
- University of Saint Joseph
- Wesleyan University
- Yale University
- Lincoln College of New England (formerly Briarwood College)
- Lincoln Technical Institute
- Post 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 Connecticut and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.