Academic institutions across the country must comply with many federally based guidelines that protect civil rights. In 1972, the U.S. Department of Education implemented Title IX rules that prohibit discrimination. Noncompliance could result in a college or university losing their federal funding for education. Students accused of violating these protections, such as by actions of sexual misconduct, face a campus disciplinary process that can lead to potential sanctions or penalties. Those who ultimately wish to challenge the finding of the school's investigation may consider filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). This agency has the option of independently reevaluating these matters if they believe a complaint has merit. Students who are facing difficult consequences as a result of these actions may contact the Lento Law Firm for effective legal assistance.
Schools have administrative staff that is responsible for addressing Title IX concerns. After receiving an allegation against a student for a violation such as sexual harassment or assault an investigation begins. After completing their internal process, a hearing is held where the school announces their findings and may impose sanctions. Students who are facing penalties such as suspension or expulsion may choose to file an appeal within the required time frame stated in the grievance provisions.
When a student is unable to prevail in the appeals process they may consider filing an OCR complaint. It is recommended that those choosing this option do so after consulting with seasoned legal counsel. A formal OCR complaint filed with the assistance of your attorney is more likely to be effective in persuading the agency to review the findings of the investigation.
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 deemed to be “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
When Title IX was drafted the Department did not specifically address the standards of evidence that apply in these actions. This is the burden of proof that must be reached when assessing whether the allegations are true. On several occasions, the Department has advised that the “preponderance of the evidence” standard was appropriate. Just recently, the department has proposed that the “clear and convincing evidence” standard be considered as an option. With the current volatility associated with the provisions of the Title IX investigative process, it is of even greater importance to consider retaining experienced legal counsel.
University Disciplinary Defense Lawyer in Hawaii
Title IX administrators often have a tendency to hurriedly conduct their inquiry without consideration for the rights of the accused. Joseph D. Lento is an attorney with a firm understanding of the dynamics associated with campus disciplinary defense matters. Those facing harsh penalties and sanctions are encouraged to contact the office for a consultation at (888) 535-3686.
- Argosy University Hawaii
- Brigham Young University Hawaii
- Chaminade University of Honolulu
- Hawaii Community College
- Hawaii Pacific University
- Heald College Honolulu
- Honolulu Community College
- Kapiolani Community College
- Kauai Community College
- Leeward Community College
- New Hope Christian College
- Remington College Honolulu Campus
- University of Hawaii at Hilo
- University of Hawaii at Manoa
- University of Hawaii Maui College
- University of Hawaii West Oahu
- University of Phoenix Hawaii Campus
- Windward Community College
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 Hawaii 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 Hawaii and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.