College is a fundamental time for people to find themselves, make lifelong friends and connections, and make preparations to finally enter the workforce. However, there are some roadblocks that could put a damper on this experience and hinder students from achieving the ultimate goal of attending college: obtaining a degree. Of these obstacles is facing allegations of violating your school's policy.
If found responsible for these allegations, especially ones entailing sexual misconduct, they have the ability to ruin your reputation, destroy your standing in the community, prevent you from furthering your education and landing certain jobs. Despite how you feel about the allegations, you cannot just go through the motions and let the school figure things out without any contributions for you. The reality is that schools have more incentive to side with an accuser - even if the events were fabricated or exaggerated - than with you. Therefore, you must work hard to make sure your voice is heard and considered in the midst of these processes.
Understanding just how your school will be handling these cases, and the processes you will be required to undergo when facing accusations is the first step to leveling the playing field. Also recognizing the crucial role an attorney can play in these circumstances is also important. For the purposes of this article, we will provide a brief overview of Frostburg State University's Title IX Policy.
Title IX Process
Filing a complaint
In these processes there will be certain terms used to characterize all the parties listed in a complaint. An individual who identifies as a victim/survivor is known as a “complainant,” while an alleged offender is referred to as a “respondent.” Once a school receives word of the allegations, the Title IX process will officially begin.
The Title IX coordinator will appoint an objective third party to investigate the claims and determine whether there is sufficient evidence that a violation could have occurred. These findings will be sent to school authorities, who in turn, will use the preponderance of evidence to decide whether a respondent is guilty or innocent for the allegations.
Respondents have the right to appeal the investigative finding and/or sanction imposed. Mere dissatisfaction with the outcome of an investigation are not suitable grounds for an appeal. The sole grounds for an appeal are:
- There was insufficient evidence to support a determination
- There was substantiated bias by an investigator
- There was new evidence that was unattainable during the investigation process that could have significantly changed the outcome of a determination and/or sanction
- The sanction imposed is substantially disproportionate to the severity of the policy violation.
Appeals must be filed within 5 days of a final determination.
Title IX Advisor
Federal and state law allows you several options when it comes to choosing an advisor. Selecting an attorney is the most advantageous and beneficial option you have. With your educational and academic future at stake, you need the help of a dedicated legal professional who is determines to protect your rights and help you defend yourself to the best of your ability. After all, many of the things you will be required to do during these processes (collecting evidence, gathering witnesses, and presenting an effective final statement) are things that attorneys do for a living in their everyday lives. Knowledgeable legal professional Joseph D. Lento has experience guiding students who have been in your shoes successfully through these processes. Contact him today for help.
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. 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, 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 Maryland and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help