Facing any type of allegation in a college setting can cause a student to feel intimidated and stressed, especially at a time when their goal of graduating with a degree finally feels in reach. However, this feeling is intensely magnified when you've been accused of violating a federal law. Being found responsible for a Title IX violation could lead to dire repercussions, such as a suspension or an expulsion. Not to mention that heavily stigmatized violation allegations like sexual misconduct could single-handedly destroy your reputation in your community, completely demolish your eligibility for scholarships you worked hard to earn, and eradicate your chances of possibly continuing your education.
This is why it's important that you and your parents understand what you're up against when you have been accused of violating your school's Title IX policy. For the purposes of this article, we will briefly explore (1) Howard University's duties under Title IX, (2) the school's sexual misconduct policy, and (3) the Title IX process that you will have to eventually undergo if you are facing Title IX violation allegations.
What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal civil right that forbids discrimination on the basis of gender committed by or against students, staff or faculty in federally funded educational institutions. This law essentially reinforces that anyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, is entitled to every right and protection that higher education institutions have to offer. Since Howard University receives some portion of federal funding from the government, they are required to investigate and work towards resolving all reported instances of discriminatory behavior and any other actions that can be considered violations of Title IX.
Howard University's Sexual Misconduct Policy
According to Howard University's sexual misconduct, the college strives to maintain conditions for “educational and employment pursuits that are free from sexual and gender-based harassment and violence…” Sexual misconduct in all of its variations - sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, etc. - is considered gender-based discrimination under Title IX. Therefore, Howard is required to handle all such cases promptly and effectively. The school is tasked with investigating and working towards resolving all reported instances of gender-based discrimination.
The Title IX Process
Students who file a complaint regarding a Title IX violation are known as “complainants,” while alleged offenders are called “respondents.” Once an incident has been reported, the process for resolving it and taking corrective action (if appropriate) should be immediately initiated by a school.
An investigation will be led by Howard's Title IX coordinator. It is the job of him or her to assign an objective third party to launch an investigation to gather more facts about an incident. Once enough evidence and accounts of the alleged occurrence are garnered, a hearing will be scheduled.
The primary purpose of a hearing is to come to a decision whether you, as a respondent, are guilty or innocent based on the evidence presented. A panel, comprised of students, staff, and faculty will assess the facts and come up with a determination. After each party has made their case, the panel will deliberate and make a decision.
Title IX Advisor
If you are a student, or your child is a student who is facing allegations of violating Title IX, you can choose anyone you would like to be your advisor. It would be in your best interest to select an attorney to help you guide through these processes and help you build a strong defense to present at a hearing. Contact skilled attorney Joseph D. Lento today for assistance.
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 Washington, D.C. and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help.