Data from the Missouri Department of Higher Education indicates that approximately 400,000 students were enrolled statewide in 2018 in its many colleges and universities. These and the majority of U.S. schools are subject to compliance with the Title IX Educational Amendments of 1972. The fundamental principle is that no person shall be “excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Some of the key areas where compliance is critical include admissions, access to financial aid, and athletic participation. These and other programs at educational institutions must be free from discrimination. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is the agency responsible for ongoing enforcement and guidance.
Possible Violations of Title IX
The guidelines provide an overview of the types of possible acts that constitute discrimination that include some of the following:
- Sexual harassment: This is defined as “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.” Examples include appeals for sexual favors, and other advances committed verbally, nonverbally or physically.
- Sexual violence: These are physical actions committed against an unwilling victim or an individual that is not capable of granting consent to participate. Examples include sexual assault or battery.
- Gender-oriented harassment: Includes forms of unwanted harassment related to a person's “actual or perceived sex.” Examples may include stereotyping, intimidation, and other actions that create a hostile educational environment.
Schools must designate a Title IX Coordinator that is responsible for implementing the institution's written policies and procedures related to Title IX. The federal guidelines provide a framework and schools have some freedom to customize their provisions to an extent. Complaints or grievances are to be responded to promptly and the investigation process must be fair and equitable.
Title IX and LGBTQ Students
Students that identify as being LGBTQ that are the subject of allegations may feel that they may be at a disadvantage in these matters. This may stem from false characterizations and unfair stereotypes that often exist in group settings. Fortunately, these concerns can be largely curtailed by retaining an experienced attorney to serve as an advisor.
The majority of institutions allow all parties to choose an advisor that can provide them support and assistance throughout the proceedings. Many institutions summon all the parties to a hearing where all the evidence is presented and evaluated. The advisor may or may not be restricted from active participation in these hearings.
Either way, choosing an attorney that is familiar with these disciplinary proceedings can be a tremendous benefit. Your attorney will work to ensure you are adequately prepared to deliver clear and effective statements and responses to questions that you are likely to encounter. An experienced attorney will also protect an accused student's interests through all stages of the proceedings including during the investigation, if a hearing is held, and if an appeal becomes necessary to challenge any potential findings and/or sanctions.
Standard of Proof
Federal guidelines allow for the employment of either a preponderance of the evidence or a clear and convincing evidence standard for proving allegations. Schools may designate a single administrator or a group or hearing panel of individuals that make a ruling in these matters. If the violation is found to have occurred, harsh penalties may be imposed such as suspension or expulsion from the institution.
Advisory Representation for Students in Missouri Accused of Title IX Violations
Joseph D. Lento is a seasoned lawyer available to assist students in facing these allegations. He works diligently on your behalf to ensure your rights are protected and pursue a positive outcome. You are encouraged to contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.
Missouri 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
- Allen County Community College
- Baker University
- Barclay College
- Barton County Community College
- Benedictine College
- Bethany College
- Bethel College North Newton
- Brown Mackie College Kansas City
- Brown Mackie College Salina
- Bryan University Topeka
- Butler Community College
- Central Baptist Theological Seminary
- Central Christian College of Kansas
- Cleveland Chiropractic College
- Cloud County Community College
- Coffeyville Community College
- Colby Community College
- Cowley County Community College
- Dodge City Community College
- Donnelly College
- Emporia State University
- Flint Hills Technical College
- Fort Hays State University
- Fort Scott Community College
- Friends University
- Garden City Community College
- Hesston College
- Highland Community College
- Hutchinson Community College
- Independence Community College
- ITT Technical Institute Wichita
- Johnson County Community College
- Kansas City Kansas Community College
- Kansas State University
- Kansas Wesleyan University
- Labette Community College
- Manhattan Area Technical College
- Manhattan Christian College
- McPherson College
- MidAmerica Nazarene University
- National American University Overland Park
- National American University Wichita
- Neosho County Community College
- Newman University
- North Central Kansas Technical College
- Ottawa University Ottawa
- Pinnacle Career Institute Lawrence
- Pittsburg State University
- Pratt Community College
- Salina Area Technical College
- Seward County Community College and Area Technical School
- Southwestern College
- Sterling College
- Tabor College
- The Art Institutes International Kansas City
- University of Kansas
- University of Phoenix Wichita Campus
- University of Saint Mary
- Vatterott College Wichita
- Washburn University
- Wichita Area Technical College
- Wichita State University
- Wright Career 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 Missouri 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.