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Due Process at Religious Institutions

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Jun 11, 2018 | 0 Comments

Title IX is a federal law that has been enacted and enforced to promote equality on campus by prohibiting institutions from marginalizing, separating or denying benefits to students on the basis of their gender. In compliance with this law, virtually all colleges and universities have specific obligations when handling allegations involving sexual harassment, sexual harassment, sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct.

There are, however, exemptions and exceptions from its extensive coverage. Title IX regulations provide a process by which certain institutions can opt out of abiding by its practices. With notification to the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), religious higher education institutions can claim religious exemption by written statement. In these institutions that are typically associated with churches, synagogues, or mosques, for example, gender-equity is a value that is not federally enforced.

Students considering attending a religious institution should be aware of what this decision will entail. Some religious institutions have implemented incredibly strict rules governing student conduct. If they are exempt from compliance with Title IX, they are allowed to establish these rules - regardless of how unfair or discriminatory they may be - as long as they do not violate anti-discrimination laws in other statutes. But even then, seemingly discriminatory school practices (especially concerning sexuality) may be constitutionally protected under the guise of the “freedom of religion.”

For example, the practice of some sectarian schools to expel sexually active students from their institutions is lawful and backed by the constitution. While not every religious institution will enjoy the benefits of being granted constitutional protection, like the justification of illegal drug use in institutions or hurting students in the name of religion. Ultimately, some religious higher education institutions reserve the right to dismiss or penalize a student at any time on whatever grounds they feel is appropriate.

The only reasonable way for students to consider a religious institution is to review its code carefully to see if they are willing to be bound to it. You should read the student handbook, code of conduct, and read between the lines when assessing the option of attending a religious institution.

Title IX Advisor Helping Clients Nationwide

The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 855-535-3686 today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at universities and colleges locally and nationwide while concurrently fighting in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, and New Jersey. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand universities and colleges across the United States. 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, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide.

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