If you are a student in New York and have been accused of a disciplinary violation, your college's investigation and hearing process can seem designed to find you guilty. This is particularly true when the allegation you are facing is for sexual misconduct in violation of Title IX.
The federal Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is there to protect a student's rights, including their rights to due process. Bringing the OCR into your case, though, is not always easy, and often requires the help of an attorney.
The Office for Civil Rights
The OCR is an agency in the U.S. Department of Education. Responsible for enforcing a bunch of federal laws that protect the rights of students, the OCR can become implicated in your case if there are signs that your school violated one of these laws.
However, to get the OCR to review your case, you need to file a complaint within 180 of the alleged violation, outlining exactly what happened and why the OCR should investigate.
The OCR's Investigation
If the OCR does decide to review your case, both you and your school will be notified. The following investigation will aim to determine whether the allegations in your complaint have merit or not. This often involves interviewing pertinent witnesses and reviewing important documents, including some personal documents that might feel like they infringe on your privacy, like your bank records or medical history.
After concluding the investigation,