College students in West Virginia who have been accused of a disciplinary violation are often in for a rough surprise: the investigation and hearing process that their school uses is just as likely to step over an accused student's rights to due process as it is to them. This is particularly true when the allegations you are facing are for sexual misconduct in violation of Title IX – a school can lose its federal funding if it does not aggressively prosecute them.
Filing a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) can help to protect your rights against your school. Hiring a lawyer to help make this happen can be a critical first step if you want to make sure you succeed.
The Office for Civil Rights Can Help West Virginia Students
An agency in the U.S. Department of Education, the OCR is tasked with enforcing federal laws that protect the rights of students in higher education. These laws become implicated in many disciplinary investigations that happen in college. If you think that your school violated the rights guaranteed to you by one of these laws, you can file a complaint with the OCR within 180 days of the incident, and urge them to review your case.
How the OCR Investigates Complaints
If your complaint to the OCR convinces the agency to review how your school treated you in a disciplinary proceeding, the OCR will conduct an independent investigation into the allegations you make in the complaint. This often involves interviewing the people who were important figures in your school's investigation and reviewing important documents.
Importantly, you are insulated with the OCR's protection throughout this investigation: If your school retaliates against you in any way because you brought the OCR into the case, it can be the grounds for another OCR complaint and yet another OCR investigation.
Once the OCR finishes its review of your case, it will send you and your school a letter of findings. If the OCR decides that your school violated your rights, it will recommend mediation as a way to come to a satisfactory resolution. If your school refuses mediation, the OCR can issue administrative sanctions that can implicate your school's federal funding.
Settlement Through Facilitated Resolution
Most OCR investigations are stalled quickly, though, when a school offers to settle the matter early. In these cases, the OCR will set up the process of Facilitated Resolution Between the Parties to allow you and your school an opportunity to bring the dispute to a close. While the agency will not endorse an agreement that you and your school reach, a violation of the agreement by your school can spawn yet another OCR investigation.
West Virginia's OCR Complaint Attorney Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a student discipline defense lawyer who can represent you if your school has violated your rights in a Title IX case or other disciplinary matter. By helping you file an effective complaint with the OCR, attorney Lento can protect your rights and your future. Contact him online or by phone at 888-535-3686 for the help you need.
West Virginia colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help you 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:
- Alderson Broaddus College
- American Public University System
- Appalachian Bible College
- Bethany College
- Blue Ridge Community and Technical College
- Bluefield State College
- Bridgemont Community and Technical College
- Concord University
- Davis & Elkins College
- Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College
- Fairmont State University
- Glenville State College
- Huntington Junior College
- ITT Technical Institute Huntington
- Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College
- Marshall University
- Mountain State College
- Mountain State University
- Mountwest Community and Technical College
- New River Community and Technical College
- Ohio Valley University
- Pierpont Community and Technical College
- Potomac State College of West Virginia University
- Salem International University
- Shepherd University
- Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College
- University of Charleston
- Valley College Beckley
- Valley College Martinsburg
- Valley College Princeton
- West Liberty University
- West Virginia Business College Wheeling
- West Virginia Junior College Bridgeport
- West Virginia Junior College Charleston
- West Virginia Junior College Morgantown
- West Virginia Northern Community College
- West Virginia State University
- West Virginia University
- West Virginia University at Parkersburg
- West Virginia University Institute of Technology
- West Virginia Wesleyan College
- Wheeling Jesuit University
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 West Virginia 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 West Virginia and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.