The Connecticut Office of Higher Education reports that 198,704 students were enrolled at the many colleges and universities statewide. Most educational facilities must implement policies and procedures for handling allegations of sexually-based discrimination based on Title IX. This was an amendment established by the U.S. Department of Education in 1972. Compliance is required to maintain eligibility for critical federal education funding.
Complaints such as those related to sexual harassment, assault, and other acts of hostility must be promptly addressed. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is responsible for federal enforcement and the guidelines have continued to evolve in recent years. Within Connecticut, the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO) is a viable resource as well.
Role of a Title IX Coordinator
Schools designate a Title IX Coordinator and all students are notified regarding the various ways of contacting this office. Compliance with the provisions is required; however, each institution can create most policies and procedures using their discretion. Staff from this office is generally responsible for conducting the investigations that occur when allegations are made.
Title IX and the LGBTQ Community
It is currently estimated that 10% of undergraduates now self-identify as being LGBTQ. The OCR has continued to expand its provisions to recognize those with non-traditional sexual identities and orientations. They recently emphasized the importance of prohibiting discriminatory actions based on “gender identification or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.”
LGBTQ students that are faced with allegations of violating Title IX guidelines are encouraged to reference their school's written policies and procedures. It is also recommended that students consult with legal representation that is familiar with these matters.
Overview of Rights
Title IX seeks to protect various basic rights for all those associated with an educational institution including:
- Individuals may not be denied entry or discouraged from participating in programs or activities based on their sex, gender identity or sexual orientation
- Schools may be held accountable for creating or permitting the educational environment to become hostile
- Title IX protections have been extended to verbal and nonverbal acts as well as those involving bullying and intimidation
- All parties to an investigation or disciplinary proceeding are entitled to sufficient “written notice in advance…with sufficient time to prepare.”
Role of Advisor
The parties involved in these disciplinary proceedings are generally permitted to choose an advisor that accompanies them and offers support. The individual may or may not be an attorney. Advisors are typically prohibited from actively participating in formal proceedings such as answering questions directly on behalf of the party; however, having assistance from an attorney can be very beneficial during all stages of the proceedings including the investigation, hearing as applicable, and appeal if necessary.
Burden of Proof
Title IX actions use either “by a preponderance of the evidence” or “clear and convincing evidence” standards for proving allegations. Both of these are a lesser standard compared to “beyond a reasonable doubt” seen in criminal matters.
Federal Guidance Regarding Remedial Measures
As part of the school's written procedures, they must specify the potential sanctions or penalties that may be imposed. Federal guidelines also allow institutions significant latitude in this area. Commonly used measures include suspension and expulsion.
Attorney Provides Advisory Representation for Students in Connecticut Subject to Title IX Actions
Are you a student or parent of a student in Connecticut that is currently facing allegations of violating Title IX requirements in Connecticut? Having an experienced advisor to assist in these matters is critical. Promptly contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today.
Connecticut 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
- Eastern Connecticut State University
- Central Connecticut State University
- Southern Connecticut State University
- Western Connecticut State University
- University of Connecticut
- Asnuntuck Community College
- Capital Community College
- Charter Oak State College
- Gateway Community College
- Housatonic Community College
- Manchester Community College
- Middlesex Community College
- Naugatuck Valley Community College
- Northwestern Connecticut Community College
- Norwalk Community College
- Quinebaug Valley Community College
- Three Rivers Community College
- Tunxis Community College
Federal-Level Military Academy
- United States Coast Guard Academy – (exempt from Title IX and the Clery Act)
Private Colleges and Universities
- Albertus Magnus College
- Connecticut College
- Fairfield University
- Goodwin College
- Hartford Seminary
- Holy Apostles College and Seminary
- Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
- Mitchell College
- New England Baptist College
- University of New Haven
- Paier College of Art
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer at Hartford
- Sacred Heart University
- St. Vincent's College
- Trinity College
- University of Bridgeport
- University of Hartford
- University of Saint Joseph
- Wesleyan University
- Yale University
- Lincoln College of New England (formerly Briarwood College)
- Lincoln Technical Institute
- Post University
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 Connecticut 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.