Title IX of the Education Amendments is a law that was first associated with gender disparities in athletic programs. As time progressed and as the law evolved, it's been linked to other gender-discrimination issues. As of now, this law most importantly prohibits sexual violence and misconduct affecting educational and campus environments. In higher education, colleges and universities are tasked with adjudicating complaints alleging this misconduct.
As part of the adjudication progress, a school's response to these allegations must include an investigation. With sensitive allegations of this nature, each school's number one priority throughout the duration of this investigation is to prevent retaliative efforts on behalf of the respondent (the accused) party. If the school decides that there is a potential danger, then the Title IX coordinator may impose what are known as “interim measures” prior to the resolution of a complaint to protect the complainant (the accuser) and other involved parties.
Interim measures are essentially guidelines that limit or outright prohibit the interactions between complainants and respondents. Under current guidance, schools have wide discretion in regard to the extent of the measures that are taken to maintain a safe and secure learning environment. Depending on the circumstances, schools may subject students to a wide range of measures. These include:
- Implementation of a “No Contact Order”
- Change in school-related work schedules or job assignments
- Assistance from school staff in completing housing relocation
- Limiting a student's access to certain school facilities or activities pending resolution
- Access to counseling services on or off campus
- Rescheduling of exams and assignments
- A leave of absence etc.
It's important to note that interim measures will interrupt the life of the respondent more than the complainant. Though a logical and oftentimes necessary response to complaints, these measures have caused serious issues for respondents when unwarranted. The accused has reported being forced to abide by measures that they believed were drastic, and consequently disruptive. And in an environment where accused students are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, extreme interim measures may convey a counterproductive message.
In frustration, some respondents have made the mistake to violate these measures by confronting a complainant or refusing to adapt to the accommodations. This is a big mistake. In the minds of many people, you did what you were accused of. So, violating school policy can validate these premature assumption in their minds, and ultimately incriminate you. Instead of disregarding school guidelines, your focus should be on making preparations to defend yourself. You need the assistance of an experienced and qualified attorney.
Nationwide Title IX Advisor
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. For respondents, especially, the assistance of an attorney advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.