Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that prohibits sexual misconduct in federally funded colleges and universities. Being accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, or any other form of sexual misconduct at the Hobart William Smith Colleges is a Title IX violation that your school must resolve. If you are found “responsible” for this conduct, you could be exposed to pretty serious repercussions that could jeopardize your plans to graduate.
For the purposes of this article, we'll address HWS's disciplinary process and why you need an attorney-advisor if you find yourself in this predicament.
Hobart William Smith Colleges' Disciplinary Process
Under Title IX, Hobart William Smith Colleges are required to adjudicate any cases of sexual misconduct brought to the institution's attention. The Department of Education urges compliant higher education institutions like HWS to respond to these accusations in a manner that is prompt and equitable. If the school fails to do so, its federal funding is at stake. Complainants (the reporter of the complaint) and especially respondents (the person accused of sexual misconduct) should understand that their school will approach their case with the utmost seriousness, and each party should follow suit.
The Colleges encourage individuals who have experienced, have knowledge of, or have witnessed sexual misconduct to make a report to the Colleges. Under Title IX, once an institution has notice of an act of sexual misconduct, it is required to (1) take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred; and (2) take prompt and effective action to end any misconduct that occurred, remedy its effects, and prevent its recurrence.
Any individual may make an anonymous report concerning an act of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. Individuals may call the Title IX Coordinator to discuss options without identifying themselves or reporting any details about an incident, such as dates, times, locations, names of the involved individuals and the nature of the incidents.
Upon receipt of a report of sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will make an initial assessment. During this assessment, the Coordinator will assess the nature and circumstances of the report and determine if the case should proceed to the next phases of the disciplinary process. If the case proceeds, due to the nature of the allegations, it will be handled formally.
The Title IX Coordinator will designate an investigator to conduct a prompt, thorough, fair, and impartial investigation. During the investigation, all parties will have an equal opportunity to be heard, to submit information and corroborating evidence, to recommend witnesses who may have relevant information, and to submit questions that they believe should be directed by the Investigator to each other or to any witness. At the end of the investigation, a final investigation report of all the information gathered will be compiled.
Both the complainant and respondent have a right to be present at a hearing. The hearing will be led by a three-person panel, who will facilitate statements made by each party and a questioning period for clarification. When all statements are heard and all questions are answered, the panel will make a determination of responsible or not responsible, based on the preponderance of evidence.
Either party may appeal the determination and/or sanction within seven business days of the receipt of the determination. An appeal must be based on at least one of the following factors to be considered:
- There was a procedural error
- There is new evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing
- The sanctions are too severe or not severe enough
New York Title IX Attorney
If you've been accused of sexual misconduct at Hobart William Smith Colleges, you can choose anyone to be your advisor in the Title IX process. It would be in your best interest to choose an attorney who can help you effectively navigate the process and build a solid defense for you. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today for help at 888-535-3686.