Title IX guidelines were established in 1972 to prevent discrimination in all schools that receive federal education funds. Title IX administrators are designated for following up on allegations such as sexual misconduct at college and universities. They immediately investigate the facts and later hold a hearing where their findings are revealed. Sanctions and penalties may be levied against students found to have been violators including suspension or expulsion. Students subjected to these disciplinary actions may file a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). This agency reviews complaints received and may reevaluate matters when they feel it is appropriate. Students who are struggling with the consequences of campus disciplinary actions should contact the Lento Law Firm for aggressive legal representation.
Investigations of Allegations
Colleges and universities in Alaska are required to launch an investigation after allegations such as sexual harassment or assault are received. Often the accused feels that the investigation did not afford them due process. Accused parties that wish to appeal the school's ruling may do so according to the university's grievance policies.
OCR Complaint Filing
If the appeals process is not successful, violators may consider filing an OCR complaint. Consulting with an attorney at this point is highly recommended. The attorney may assist you with creating a highly effective complaint that may persuade the OCR to begin a third-party probe into the matter.
Reasons the OCR Dismisses Complaints
- The complaint is found to be outside of their range of legal authority
- The allegations do not clearly indicate that an OCR violation occurred
- Complainant does not respond to a request made within the 14-day period allotted
- It was filed after the deadline and no waiver of time is granted
- Allegations are judged as “speculative, conclusory, or incoherent” or do not suggest actions of a discriminatory nature
- An agency that uses an acceptable process for handling Title IX complaints has or is now investigating the matter
- A federal or state court has received a filing alleging the same or related facts contained in the complaint
- The complaint is one of a series of filings against recipients that places an undue strain on the resources available to the OCR
- A resolution was reached in the matter elsewhere
Standards of Evidence
The original Title IX provisions did not specify the standard of evidence to be used. In recent years, the Department has advised that the “preponderance of the evidence” standard is appropriate. This is the standard that applies to civil actions, yet critics believe this standard is not suitable for Title IX processes. Key aspects do not apply in these disciplinary proceedings including formal rules of evidence and the parties are typically not represented by attorneys. A recent proposal by the Department suggests that the “clear and convincing evidence” standard be made a potential alternative. With critical aspects of these disciplinary actions, such as the burden of proof being debated, having experienced legal counsel is as important as ever.
Alaska Campus Disciplinary Defense Lawyer
Students accused of Title IX violations may find that administrators in the disciplinary process are in a rush to judgment. Often they feel like their rights are viewed as being of minimal importance. Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents students that are facing sanctions and penalties. Contact the office for a confidential consultation today at (888) 535-3686.
- Alaska Bible College
- Alaska Pacific University
- Charter College Anchorage
- Ilisagvik College
- Prince William Sound Community College
- University of Alaska Anchorage
- University of Alaska Fairbanks
- University of Alaska Southeast
Students and parents at times do not realize until after a finding of responsibility and the imposition of adverse sanctions that sexual misconduct allegations at college can result in severe consequences academically and professionally and in the short and long-term. The earlier the necessary steps are taken to address a Title IX case, the better, because these are cases that can be won at the school-level. There are times, however, that the help of the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (DOE-OCR) is needed and Joseph D. Lento has a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients at colleges and universities throughout the nation and has helped many clients seek recourse with the DOE-OCR. 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 who helps students in Alaska with DOE-OCR Title IX complaints, 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 to students facing disciplinary cases in Alaska and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.