Duke University was originally founded in 1892 in Durham, North Carolina as Trinity College. The overall student enrollment has now risen to exceed 15,000. Part of the institution's mission statement includes promoting a “deep appreciation for the range of human difference.” This closely correlates to the goal of Title IX, which was an educational amendment requiring all schools to properly address issues related to sexual discrimination.
Title IX Administrators at Duke University
The Office of Institutional Equity is responsible for overall adherence to federal Title IX provisions as well as Title VII and the Violence Against Women Act. Complaints may also be made anonymously using the Personal Assistance Service (PAS) program that is affiliated with the Duke Health System. Those who are the subject of allegations are prohibited from committing acts of retaliation.
There are a host of available resources for victims that require support. These include assistance programs from the Office of Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention (GVPI) in the Women's Center, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and the Duke Police Department.
Scope of Responsibility
The Title IX disciplinary process applies to all enrolled students. Others on the campus including faculty, visitors, and contractors are also prohibited for committing acts of sexual discrimination.
Upon receiving a complaint, the Office of Student Conduct seeks to resolve these matters within 60 days. The process is likely to consist of an investigation to gather evidence, a hearing, and deliberations to make a ruling. These expectations may be delayed when there are holiday breaks or other similar circumstances.
Choosing an Advisor
The Student Affairs Office allows all parties to choose an advisor that will provide some support and assistance. The administration may assist parties with accessing Disciplinary Advisors that have been trained when needed. Advisors are not permitted to serve as witnesses in these types of proceedings.
Overview of the Investigative Process
Investigators are assigned by the Director of Title IX Compliance. The investigators will generally meet with the complaining party and responding party separately to hear their accounts. All parties may submit a list of potential witnesses to be interviewed.
A summary of all relevant information is compiled. The complainant and respondent will receive a copy of the investigative report to review. The administration does not permit character witnesses.
When the Office of Student Conduct deems it appropriate, the parties will be notified of a scheduled hearing. A panel of three individuals is appointed for hearings, which generally consists of a combination of staff and students. This panel must reach a unanimous vote when determining whether the allegations have been proven. Sanctions (penalties) that involve suspension or dismissal from the institution also require a unanimous decision.
The Office of Student Conduct is also responsible for designating a facilitator for these hearings. This individual serves in a non-voting role. The decision reached by a panel is generally made within 10 days.
All parties are permitted to appeal an adverse ruling by filing written intent within five days. There are limited grounds for appeals. An appeal may be warranted when new relevant information arises that may influence the prior decision. Parties may seek an appeal when they feel that proper procedure was not adhered to.
Appeals do not involve a subsequent hearing. The Vice President for Student Affairs will designate a panel that will consider appeals. These rulings are typically made within 20 days.
Title IX Attorney for Duke University Students
Students at colleges and universities that are facing allegations of misconduct that violate Title IX should promptly seek support from a lawyer that is familiar with this unique sector of legal practice. The Lento Law Firm will move aggressively to defend you as part of an overall strategy to pursue a favorable outcome. Contact the office for assistance at (888) 535-3686.