Data from the Arkansas Division of Higher Education shows that there are now 45 postsecondary institutions statewide with total enrollment that exceeds 167,000 students. To maintain eligibility for key federal educational funds, all schools must comply with Title IX. This amendment was implemented in 1972 requiring that guidelines and procedures be established in response to complaints of sexually-based discrimination.
The LGBTQ Community
A 2016 report indicated that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning or queer students compose roughly 10% of the overall undergraduate student population. In educational settings, data reveals that these individuals are much more likely to be the victims of stereotyping, harassment, threats, and other hostilities resulting from their sexual orientation. LGBTQ students that are accused of sexual misconduct are encouraged to consult with experienced legal counsel.
Title IX Enforcement
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is a part of the U.S. Department of Education that enforces the provisions of Title IX. The OCR has continued to refine the acts that constitute potential violations. One recent statement explained that acts may be “verbal, nonverbal, physical aggression, intimidation or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping.” This may apply to actions that either deny or limit a student's access to or eligibility for all activities in educational environments.
The federal guidelines require schools to name a Title IX coordinator and promptly investigate allegations of misconduct. The administration is to pursue “prompt and equitable” resolutions using staff that is unbiased. After gathering any applicable facts and evidence, many schools have all the parties attend a hearing. These hearings are not intended to emulate actual court proceedings.
Evidentiary Standard and Potential Sanctions
In criminal actions, the evidence must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In Title IX disciplinary actions, lower burdens of proof apply. These include either the preponderance of the evidence standard applicable to civil matters or a clear and convincing evidence standard.
Educational institutions also may use their discretion in implementing any appeals process. The school's written Title IX guidelines, which should be easily accessible to all students, will outline the potential penalties or remedies that may be imposed for violations. Those who are found to have committed violations may face long-term consequences. These may include but are not limited to being suspended or expelled from the institution.
The Right to an Advisor
The majority of institutions permit parties to be accompanied by an advisor of their choosing during any proceedings. Advisors are generally restricted from taking an active role, such as answering directly on behalf of a party, but an experienced professional will be an advocate throughout the process. The advisor may be of tremendous assistance in preparation.
Having an experienced attorney in this role will help to ensure your rights are protected. The attorney may also assist with drafting highly impactful statements and effective responses to questions during the investigation and hearing as applicable, and can potentially assist in the appeals process when necessary.
Legal Advisor for Title IX Proceedings in Arkansas Schools
The Lento Law Firm has an excellent understanding of how Title IX disciplinary actions are conducted. Students in Arkansas that need an effective advisor for these matters are encouraged to contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.
Arkansas colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your gay or lesbian student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools
- Arkansas Baptist College
- Arkansas Northeastern College
- Arkansas State University Beebe
- Arkansas State University Main Campus
- Arkansas State University Mountain Home
- Arkansas State University Newport
- Arkansas Tech University
- Black River Technical College
- Bryan University
- Central Baptist College
- College of the Ouachitas
- Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas
- Crowley's Ridge College
- East Arkansas Community College
- Ecclesia College
- Harding University
- Henderson State University
- Hendrix College
- ITT Technical Institute Little Rock
- John Brown University
- Lyon College
- Mid South Community College
- National Park Community College
- North Arkansas College
- NorthWest Arkansas Community College
- Ouachita Baptist University
- Ozarka College
- Philander Smith College
- Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas
- Pulaski Technical College
- Remington College Little Rock Campus
- Rich Mountain Community College
- South Arkansas Community College
- Southeast Arkansas College
- Southern Arkansas University Main Campus
- Southern Arkansas University Tech
- University of Arkansas
- University of Arkansas at Little Rock
- University of Arkansas at Monticello
- University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
- University of Arkansas Community College Batesville
- University of Arkansas Community College Hope
- University of Arkansas Community College Morrilton
- University of Arkansas Fort Smith
- University of Central Arkansas
- University of Phoenix Little Rock Campus
- University of Phoenix Northwest Arkansas Campus
- University of the Ozarks
- Williams Baptist College
Approximately 10% of college students in the United States identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or questioning according to studies and LGBTQ+ students should not feel alone when accused of sexual misconduct. As importantly, they should they not face such burdens alone or without the necessary support and guidance.
The reason LGBTQ+ students should not go through the Title IX process alone is because, as with all students accused of sexual misconduct, Title IX allegations and charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process. It is critical to have a dedicated and experienced advocate when facing a challenge in life and Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of LGBTQ+ students 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 New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York and serves as a Title IX advisor to students facing Title IX and disciplinary cases in Arkansas and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686.