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