There are 16 postsecondary institutions such as colleges and universities throughout Hawaii. These and the majority of institutions across the nation are required to comply with Title IX federal guidelines. Implemented in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Education, Title IX serves to prevent sexually-based discrimination in all educational institutions.
Schools must establish and disseminate policies and procedures relating to how complaints of sexual discrimination are handled. Federal enforcement is the responsibility of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Failing to comply with Title IX provisions may result in no longer being eligible for critical federal funding for education.
Title IX Provisional Overview
Schools are responsible for promptly responding to complaints involving sexual discrimination. Examples include sexually-based harassment, violence, and other similar forms of misconduct. A Title IX Coordinator is named that will initiate investigations. An emphasis is placed on ensuring that these disciplinary proceedings are conducted fairly and equitably.
The investigation may include reviewing all evidence and gathering any available witness testimony. The federal guidelines are very broad and schools have significant latitude in creating their procedures. Many institutions conduct hearings where all parties are present. The hearings are not intended to resemble formal legal proceedings.
Title IX Allegations Against LGBTQ Students
When an LGBTQ student is the subject of such allegations they may feel uncertain and vulnerable. These individuals may fear that investigators may unfairly make assumptions regarding their guilt based on false characterizations and stereotypes. In these cases, students are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney that is familiar with these matters.
Basis of Title IX Complaints Relating to LGBTQ Students (2010 to 2018)
Allegations of sexual harassment
Related to exclusion, benefit denial or differential treatment
Harassment related to gender (non-sexual)
Acts of retaliation
Other discipline-related acts
Role of an Advisor
The majority of schools permit parties to choose and be accompanied by an advisor that serves in a supportive capacity. They may be restricted from active participation in hearings to some degree. This advisor may or may not be an attorney. An accused student's are best served when advised by an experienced professional in such matters because too much is at stake and the playing field needs to be leveled at all stages of the proceedings including during the investigation, a hearing if convened, and an appeal if necessary.
What is the Burden of Proof?
Two possible evidentiary options may be used to prove allegations in these actions. These include either by the “preponderance of evidence” or by “clear and convincing evidence” standard. Both of these are a lesser standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt” that applies in criminal actions.
Those who are found to have committed a violation may face a host of potential sanctions or penalties. Schools commonly will impose suspensions or expulsions when violations are proven. There is typically some type of appeals process that a party may pursue. It is important to be mindful of any deadline for filing an appeal.
Experienced Advisor for Students in Title IX Disciplinary Matters in Hawaii
Students who have received notification that they are the subject of a Title IX disciplinary action in Hawaii are encouraged to seek assistance from an experienced advisor. Joseph D. Lento provides highly-effective representation to clients in these proceedings. We encourage you to contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.
Hawaii 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
- Argosy University Hawaii
- Brigham Young University Hawaii
- Chaminade University of Honolulu
- Hawaii Community College
- Hawaii Pacific University
- Heald College Honolulu
- Honolulu Community College
- Kapiolani Community College
- Kauai Community College
- Leeward Community College
- New Hope Christian College
- Remington College Honolulu Campus
- University of Hawaii at Hilo
- University of Hawaii at Manoa
- University of Hawaii Maui College
- University of Hawaii West Oahu
- University of Phoenix Hawaii Campus
- Windward Community 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 Hawaii 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.