Handling Sexual Misconduct Accusations at Georgia Gwinnett College

Georgia Gwinnett College is tasked with establishing and maintaining a safe, educational atmosphere for its students. Consequently, as part of the matriculation process, students will learn how the college addresses breaches of its Code of Conduct.

Sexual misconduct and Title IX violations often garner more attention than academic rule-breaking, given their severe consequences that derail the path toward education. Federal Title IX regulations compel colleges and universities to investigate and punish violations quickly because their effects are linked to a school's federal funding. However, institutions of higher education sometimes overstep their authority and may rush the grievance process without providing an accused student due process.

Understanding how you or your student child can defend themselves in front of a school disciplinary board is crucial. Fighting back is a daunting prospect with your academic career on the line, but you can hire professional help.

Georgia Gwinnett College Sexual Misconduct Policy

Students and the employees of Georgia Gwinnett College are responsible for promoting a welcoming learning environment, and all non-consensual sexual acts are prohibited. Per the school's Code of Conduct, the following are considered violations:

  • Dating violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Non-consensual sexual contact
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Sexual harassment
  • Some amorous relationships between students and school employees
  • Stalking

Students may think sexual misconduct is handled the same as cheating or campus housing violations. Since sexual misconduct typically falls under federal Title IX purview, a school must address situations with a more formal set of procedures.

Title IX Responsibilities of Georgia Gwinnett College

Title IX is a federal civil rights law prohibiting sex and gender-based discrimination in any educational program or activity receiving funding from the federal government. The guidelines give colleges and universities the basic method to manage sexual misconduct and similar violations on campus.

Other actions that may be resolved under Title IX include:

  • Bullying
  • Discrimination
  • Failure to report Title IX violation
  • Harassment
  • Promoting a hostile environment
  • Quid Pro Quo
  • Retaliation

Georgia Gwinnett College considers all faculty, instructors, administrators, supervisors, and all persons in positions of authority, even if they are student employees, "responsible employees" with mandatory reporting requirements. If they receive complaints or possess knowledge of sexual misconduct, discrimination, or harassment, they must report to the Office of Diversity and Equity Compliance (ODEC). Failure to report to the ODEC or the school's Title IX Coordinator violates the school's Title IX policy.

Title IX Investigative and Hearing Processes

Once Georgia Gwinnett College's ODEC or Title IX Coordinator is aware of an instance of misconduct, the school will have "actual knowledge," thus triggering the Title IX grievance process. Since Title IX is under federal guidance, most institutions of higher education proceed similarly.

Georgia Gwinnett College conducts its investigation phase as follows:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the accuser (complainant) to discuss the allegations and offer supportive resources.
  2. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the accused student (respondent) through a written notice of allegations, including information given by the complainant. The notice will also include the standard for the investigation and hearing. The respondent will be apprised of their rights, including the right to be presumed "not responsible" and to choose an advisor, who may be an attorney, to assist them.
  3. A Title IX investigator will be appointed to gather evidence and interview the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses.
  4. The Title IX investigator will form an official report to be given to the Title IX Coordinator and both parties, who will have five calendar days to respond.

If both the Title IX Coordinator and the complainant agree to move forward with a formal hearing, the respondent will be notified, this time for the time and date of the hearing.

Georgia Gwinnett College's hearing phase will move forward as follows:

  1. The hearing officer will introduce the panel and conduct the hearing to discuss evidence gathered by the investigator, or anything else they determine is relevant and credible.
  2. The complainant and respondent will make an opening statement to the hearing panel.
  3. Each party or their advisor will cross-examine the other party and witnesses.
  4. Members of the hearing panel may question the parties and their witnesses.
  5. The complainant and respondent will make any rebuttals or closing remarks.
  6. The panel will base its determination of responsibility on the "preponderance of evidence" standard.

Within five business days, each party will receive a notice from the panel detailing hearing conclusions, supporting statements, sanctions, and their right to appeal.

Sanctions for Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Offenses

Punishments for sexual misconduct or Title IX violation typically lead to a separation from studies. Under Section 4.6.5 of Georgia Gwinnett College's Code of Conduct, Standards for Institutional Student Conduct Investigation and Disciplinary Proceedings, the following sanctions may be levied, including but not limited to:

  • Campus restrictions
  • Community service hours
  • No contact orders
  • Restitution
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion

Appeals Process at Georgia Gwinnett College

To appeal, each party must write to ODEC within five business days of the notice, explaining any disagreements with the panel's decisions. Wherein sanctions include suspension or expulsion, at least one of the following must be fulfilled to warrant an appeal.

  1. Considering evidence unavailable during investigative or hearing processes.
  2. Procedural inaccuracies impacted hearing fairness.
  3. Findings were not consistent with the evidence.

How Joseph D. Lento Can Defend Your Rights

The punishments for sexual misconduct and Title IX violations often follow students long after their academic years. Frequently, they may hinder one's ability to secure a career in the public interest, apply for home and car loans, and enroll in school elsewhere.

If you're subject to Georgia Gwinnett College's past-paced disciplinary process, you need expert help. Student defense advisor Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm have handled student discipline matters and negotiations with college officials involving hundreds of schools across the country.

Building on the valuable relationships he's fostered with many schools' internal Office of General Counsel (OGC), Joseph D. Lento can help college and university officials see more positive options serving the student and the school far better than severe punitive actions. For help, call 888-535-3686 to discuss how Joseph D. Lento can protect you or use the online consultation form.

Contact Us Today!

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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