Blog

Adjudicating Title IX Complaints on College Campuses: The Investigatory Model vs. The Hearing Model

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Aug 15, 2018 | 0 Comments

Of the many issues plaguing higher education, none of them are as contentious or interminable as campus sexual assault. Institutions continue to struggle with finding ways to successfully deter student-to-student sexual assault and protect survivors and the campus community, while simultaneously upholding the rights of everyone involved.

Title IX of the Education Amendments prevents federally funded colleges and universities from discriminating on the “basis of sex.” Its widespread application within institutions is a promising effort in the fight to combat sexual assault. But it's also opened a can of worms, prompting the investigation of colleges and universities that have failed to implement these processes correctly, and emanating more guidance that refines school processes to achieve full compliance with Title IX.

The Title IX resolution process leaves some room for flexibility for administrators. This opportunity for distinctive resolution processes among institutions - though minor - transformed what may have been intended to be a uniform system into a multifaceted one. In the era of the Trump administration, processes have become even more versatile, as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her team substantially loosened the reins by eliminating deadlines and allowing schools the option to select their own evidentiary standards.

This is why it is imperative that students have a comprehensive understanding of the way their school resolves sexual misconduct complaints. Institutions are beginning to modify their processes due to this newfound leniency by implementing one of two types of models for student discipline in sexual misconduct cases: the “hearing model” or the “investigator model.” Each of these models means something different for students involved in complaints.

The hearing model is regarded as the traditional approach. It entails an investigation, often conducted by an independent party or firm hired by the school, followed by a hearing. A Title IX hearing resembles an administrative hearing, as there is a panel comprised of neutral decision-makers, sworn testimony, statements, fact-based findings, and the cross-examination of witnesses (with appropriate boundaries for alleged victims). The panel deliberates with all of this information in mind and comes up with a determination that will either assign “responsibility” to a respondent or rid them of charges.

The investigatory model is a newer approach to complaints that more institutions are adopting. Schools that implement this model skip the hearing process altogether. Instead, students facing discipline (known as respondents) receives notice of their charges, and the incident is investigated by a single person or an outside, independent firm. The investigation will give respondents and complainants (people who bring charges) an opportunity to share their account of an incident through an interview.

Of course, the equitability of each process for complainants and respondents is questioned in each of these models. Some people think the hearing model should be the only offered model because of its strong resemblance to actual criminal trials. While others believe the investigatory model should be solely legitimized because it leaves less room for bias.

But you can maximize your chances of success with either model if you gain an understanding of the ways your school has chosen to resolve Title IX matters. Knowing the ins and outs of your school's selected model will give students a good idea of how to prepare for success in these situations. Seeking an attorney will also be beneficial in making sure that your rights aren't disregarded in these processes.

Nationwide Title IX Advisor

The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at universities and colleges across the United States while concurrently fighting in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, and New Jersey. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand universities and colleges across the United States. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

footer-2.jpg

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 our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu