Mere allegations of a school violation - especially ones that involve sexual misconduct - can ruin your college experience. Being found responsible for this misconduct can prevent you from achieving the academic and professional goals you've set. This is why it's important that accused students have a clear and comprehensive understanding of their school's procedures. Knowing what to expect and making preparations accordingly can help level the playing field in a system that caters to accusers. Here is a brief overview of John Hopkins University's Title IX Process.
Title IX Process
Filing a complaint
In the midst of Title IX processes, school authorities will use certain terms to characterize all the parties involved in a complaint. As an individual who has been accused of perpetrating this misconduct, you will be referred to as a “respondent.” An individual who identifies as a victim/survivor in the complaint will be known as a “complainant.” In some cases, a school may take on the role of a complainant. John Hopkins encourages every member of the school community to report violations of school policy. In fact, certain employees of the school, also known as “responsible employees,” are obligated to report any knowledge of any behavior that could potentially constitute as a violation of the school and Title IX. Once a report has been filed detailing the alleged misconduct, the process will begin.
When a report is made, a Title IX coordinator's main concern is to protect a complainant from retaliation. In an effort to do so, the coordinator will impose interim measures to separate each party. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to:
- The adjustment of work schedules
- Rescheduling examinations
- Moving residences
- Parking and/or transportation accommodations
- The issuing of a no contact order
The investigative process
When a Title IX coordinator receives word of a complaint regarding sexual misconduct, it is his or her duty to determine if there is enough sufficient evidence to initiate an investigation. This is known as the preliminary investigation. During this period, a coordinator will assess the disciplinary history of a respondent, whether there was a factor of violence, if a weapon was used, the age of a complainant etc.
This is the portion of the process when third party investigators are appointed to conduct an investigation to gather more facts and come to a resolution. This process entails interviewing complainants, respondents and witnesses who know relevant information. Once all the appropriate information is garnered, the investigators will submit a finding with their determination and recommended sanctions (if applicable).
If a respondent disagrees with the finding, a hearing will be scheduled to give both parties a final chance to present evidence and speak for themselves. A hearing consists of each party being allocated the same time to give a testimony of their account of events, questioning and final statements. Once each side has made their case, a panel will deliberate and present a final determination of responsibility.
If a respondent feels dissatisfied with a determination and/or sanction, he or she is allowed the option of appealing, or urging a school to reconsider their decision. However, this appeal will only be granted if it is based on reasonable grounds. The sole grounds for an appeal include:
- A procedural error that significantly affected a determination or sanction
- New information that was not available at the time of an investigation or hearing surfaced that could have reasonably affected a determination or sanction
- The sanction is not proportionate to the severity of a violation
Students have 10 business days to submit an appeal for consideration.
Title IX Advisor
Choosing an attorney as your advisor is the only way to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the Title IX process. A legal professional will also will be able to help you defend yourself effectively and adequately. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has successfully guided students who have been in your shoes through these processes, and he can do the same for you. 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.