Do the New Title IX Rules Allow a Student to Face Their Accuser?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | May 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

Under current Title IX guidance, the rights of the accused are extremely limited. In an effort to support the complaining witnesses involved in these campus assault allegations, the Department of Education has drastically diminished the due process rights of the accused.

In one specific way, the proposed changes to Title IX guidance could strengthen these due process rights. According to the proposed language, accused students, staff, and faculty will have the right to confront their accuser during a live hearing.

This change is vital to ensuring a fair hearing, and it will give the accused a fair shot at fighting back against false accusations. If you are facing accusation of sexual assault or harassment on a college campus, discuss your rights with attorney Joseph D. Lento right away.

The Right to Confront Witnesses

The final version of the proposed rules greatly expands the rights of the accused to face their accuser, but it also provides protections for all parties. Compared to a criminal trial, the ability to cross-examine witnesses falls short. While you now have the right to face your accuser, students are not allowed to question or confront each other during these hearings. However, a lawyer or advisor could ask questions of the accuser on the student's behalf.

These rolls take significant steps in making the process as comfortable as possible. The schools have the right to hold these hearings virtually for any reason they deem fit. What's more, the school may also grant a request from either party to sit in separate rooms during the course of the hearing. This allows the cross-examination that is vital to a fair defense while avoiding unnecessary confrontation or conflict. This balance allows for a safe atmosphere while allowing a student the genuine opportunity to defend themselves.

The ability to question the other party is not unlimited. The hearing officer overseeing the proceedings will screen every question before it is asked or answered. If the hearing officer determines the question is not relevant to the proceedings, they will not permit the party from asking it. In general, questions regarding a person's sexual history are not relevant. There are important exceptions, however. First, a person's sexual history may become relevant if it can provide evidence a person other than the accused committed the alleged misconduct. Second, a person's sexual history may be relevant if it can establish the issue of consent.

These rules do not fully apply to primary or secondary schools. These types of schools are not required to allow cross-examination or even hold hearings at all. However, an accused student does have the right to submit questions in writing.

How Joseph D. Lento Can Help

These changes provide the accused with new opportunities to defend themselves during a disciplinary hearing. This change not only protects their rights but also ensures a fair system that allows colleges and universities to pursue allegations of misconduct when they see fit. If you are facing an allegation of misconduct, Call Joseph D. Lento at (888) 535-3686 or contact him online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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