College can be one of the most rewarding, fulfilling experiences of your life. You have the chance to define who you are as an individual, to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life, to meet new people and make new friends. All of that can come to a halt pretty quickly, though, if you should be accused of sexual misconduct.
Schools take sexual misconduct seriously, as well they should. No one should ever have to suffer from harassment or discrimination or other forms of sexual misconduct. Anyone who's been assaulted deserves justice. However, in their zeal to protect victims, schools sometimes go too far. Some colleges and universities will do anything to prove a defendant is responsible, or at a minimum, cater to the complainant through the disciplinary process, including bend the rules. Punishments are often out of all proportion to the offense. Usually, the minimum sanction is suspension; more often defendants face expulsion.
If someone's made an allegation against you, what do you do? Start by finding out as much as you can about how your school deals with sexual misconduct cases. Find out exactly what the justice process is like. Then, make sure you hire an attorney who will stand beside you and protect your rights.
Sexual Misconduct and Title IX
For many years, schools have dealt with most sexual misconduct cases using Title IX. This law, passed in 1972, prohibited sexual harassment and discrimination in any federally funded educational program. Without question, Title IX was an important and necessary step forward in the struggle for sexual equality in the United States. College campuses in the late 1960s could often be openly hostile towards women. Today, in contrast, they are among the most welcoming spaces in all of society, havens for feminist studies programs and strongholds of liberal, progressive values.
Despite it's positive impact, though, the law is not without its flaws. Among these, it threatens to withhold federal funds from any school that refuses to cooperate. That puts enormous pressure on universities to pursue allegations as aggressively as possible.
Added to this built-in incentive, the federal government has increasingly encouraged schools to favor accusers, even when that means stripping the accused of their rights. Until very recently, respondents weren't necessarily entitled to a hearing. They didn't have the right to confront their accusers or to question witnesses.
In 2020, the Trump administration, under the direction of education secretary Betsy Devos, made some attempt to even the playing field. New Title IX guidelines, which went into effect in August of that year, narrowed the definitions of harassment and discrimination, limited schools' jurisdictions, and restored some rights to the accused.
Unfortunately, not everyone approved of these changes. Many schools felt that the new rules undermined their authority and weakened victims' rights. Some schools even sued to prevent the policy from taking effect. Meanwhile, the new Biden administration has promised to repeal as many of the guidelines as it can. In short, Title IX today isn't just unbalanced in favor of complainants. It is also mired in chaos.
Title IX at Colorado Technical University
If you are accused of sexual misconduct at Colorado Technical University, the school may pursue you under one of two separate policies. If your case rises to the level of a Title IX offense, CTU will follow Title IX guidelines.
Title IX cases begin with a formal complaint made through the Title IX office. Once a complaint has been made, the Title IX Coordinator appoints an investigator to look into the incident. This person has 60 days in which to interview both sides, talk to witnesses, and collect any physical evidence. At the end of this 60 days, they issue an investigative report. Both sides have an opportunity to respond to this report before the Title IX Coordinator sets a hearing date.
Students are allowed to have an advisor throughout the investigation and hearing process, and this advisor can be an attorney. At the hearing, the advisor questions witnesses on the student's behalf, but the student is solely responsible for making any opening or closing statements.
Ultimately, the hearing committee decides whether or not the respondent is responsible for the incident using the “preponderance of evidence” standard. A student doesn't need to be found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Instead, the committee must only determine whether it is “more likely than not” that the misconduct occurred.
Finally, students found responsible can appeal the committee's decision if they can demonstrate bias during the process or can provide new evidence in the case.
Other Sexual Misconduct Cases at CTU
If CTU can't investigate you under Title IX, it will pursue you through its own grievance process. Title IX remains unfair to respondents, but CTU’s own brand of justice gives respondents even fewer rights.
Essentially, under this policy all instances of sexual misconduct are subject to review by the Student Conduct Committee. The school does not undertake a formal investigation of the allegations. The committee, made up of the Provost and “other committee members representing various areas within the University” is under no obligation to hear from witnesses or even from the accused. There is no formal hearing.
Only if a respondent files an appeal of the committee's decision are they allowed to present evidence to the committee.
As with Title IX cases, respondents can be given a variety of sanctions up to and including suspension and expulsion.
When to Contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento
The time to contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento is now. The earlier Attorney Lento and his team are in your corner, the better. Too much is at stake to leave anything to chance. If you make the mistake of going it alone or with someone not suited to the task, university sexual misconduct cases often are not fair to respondents. Worse, they can be almost impossible to successfully navigate. You may know until the last minute which process the school will use to investigate you. You can't count on the school to protect your due process rights. In some instances, you can be sure the school will do everything it can to try and expel you.
You need Attorney Joseph D. Lento on your side fighting for you. Joseph D. Lento built his practice on university sexual misconduct cases. He has represented hundreds of clients just like you from charges just like the ones you're facing across the United States. Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm will protect your rights and make sure you get the best possible resolution to your case. Don't risk your academic and professional future.
If you or your child has been accused of sexual misconduct at Colorado Technical University, don't wait. Contact the Lento Law Firm today, at 888-555-3686, or use our automated online form.