In today's highly litigious society allegations such as those involving sexual misconduct are taken seriously. Colleges and universities are tasked with complying with a host of federal guidelines or risk potentially forfeiting much needed federal education funds. Title IX is a set of guidelines that prohibit discrimination. It requires schools to investigate, make a ruling, and impose sanctions on violators. The sanctions levied may include suspension or expulsion. Those accused and found to have violated the rules may consider filing a formal complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) who may decide to review the matter as an impartial third-party. Students facing harsh sanctions in these actions involving student discipline defense may find the assistance they need by contacting the Lento Law Firm.
Colleges and universities generally now have an assigned Title IX coordinator. After receiving a complaint such as for sexual harassment or assault the staff will promptly begin looking into the allegations. The findings of the investigation are revealed during a hearing and sanctions may be imposed. Those who wish to appeal the decision of the institution may do so by following the established grievance policy.
Formal OCR Complaints
If the student is unsuccessful in the appeals process they may consider consulting with experienced legal counsel. The option of filing an OCR complaint may be exercised at this point. Your attorney should have the knowledge to increase the likelihood that the OCR would consider reevaluating the matter based on the effectiveness of your written complaint.
Grounds for OCR's Dismissal of a Title IX Complaint:
- The complaint in outside of the OCR's area of legal authority
- A clear violation of an OCR enforced law is not contained in the complaint
- The complaint was not filed in time and waiver of time is denied
- Information within is “speculative, conclusory, or incoherent” or does not suggest actions of a discriminatory nature.
- Complainant has not responded with information requested regarding the complaint in a 14 day period
- A resolution has been reached in the complaint
- Another agency employing a similar acceptable process for resolving Title IX complaints has or is currently investigating the matter
- A state or federal 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
Standards of Evidence in Title IX
Title IX does not specify the exact standard of evidence that applies to sexual harassment complaints. The Department in the past suggested that claims be proven by a “preponderance of the evidence” as applies in civil litigation. Critics contend this standard is inappropriate because Title IX processes lack key elements of civil litigation such as representation by legal counsel and formal rules of evidence. The Department recently proposed that the “clear and convincing evidence” standard be implemented as a discretionary option. With the volatility surrounding such fundamental aspects of the process such as the burden of proof, it is more important than ever to have assistance from experienced legal counsel.
Campus Discipline Defense Attorney in South Dakota
When a college or university receives a complaint relating to Title IX they will likely bring an investigation promptly. Sometimes their well-intentioned efforts fail to properly consider the accused student's rights and access to due process. Attorney Joseph D. Lento understands the dynamics of the campus disciplinary process and how to navigate OCR complaints. Those facing difficult sanctions in these matters are encouraged to contact the office for a consultation today at (888) 535-3686.
South Dakota colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student file a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Augustana College
- Black Hills State University
- Colorado Technical University Sioux Falls
- Dakota State University
- Dakota Wesleyan University
- Globe University Sioux Falls
- Kilian Community College
- Lake Area Technical Institute
- Mitchell Technical Institute
- Mount Marty College
- National American University Ellsworth AFB Extension
- National American University Rapid City
- National American University Sioux Falls
- Northern State University
- Oglala Lakota College
- Presentation College
- Sinte Gleska University
- Sisseton Wahpeton College
- South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
- South Dakota State University
- Southeast Technical Institute
- University of Sioux Falls
- University of South Dakota
- Western Dakota Technical Institute
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 South Dakota 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 South Dakota and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.