There are currently 20 colleges and universities in North Dakota with more than 35,000 students enrolled. These and the majority of U.S. schools are required to maintain compliant with Title IX. This amendment was established in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Education. The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education monitors changes in federal guidelines and serves as a resource for schools across the state.
Schools are required to establish written policies and procedures that address the process for handling complaints of sexual discrimination. Central enforcement at the federal level is the responsibility of the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Schools that fail to comply with the requirements of Title IX may become ineligible for further federal education funding
Examples of Sexual Discrimination
- Sexual harassment: Includes forms of unwanted sexually-based conduct. Examples include requesting sexual favors, making advances, and other verbal or nonverbal acts.
- Sexual violence: These may include physical acts such as rape, sexual battery or coercion. It may involve victims that are unwilling or unable to legally consent to engage in sexual activity.
- Discrimination may occur by discouraging or denying access or participation based on gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. This may apply to admission to the institution, educational programs, athletics, and more.
- Other prohibited acts include making slurs, stereotyping victims based on their gender, and any other that create hostile educational environments.
Schools may use some discretion in drafting their Title IX procedures. They will designate a Title IX Coordinator that is responsible for promptly investigating complaints. The investigation process often involves interviewing witnesses and gathering other evidence.
Schools may choose to assess the allegations using two evidentiary standards. The evidence must be satisfied by either a preponderance of the evidence or clear and convincing evidence. Some institutions encourage alternative or informal attempts at a resolution such as through mediation. Although not required by federal guidelines, most schools allow for appealing an adverse ruling.
Maintaining Fairness and Equitability
The accused party is to be afforded sufficient time for preparation. The administrator is tasked with assessing the evidence to reach a decision. All “rights and opportunities” that are made available to one party must be made available to others.
Title IX and the LGBTQ Community
The OCR recently clarified that Title IX protections do apply regardless of an individual's gender or sexual orientation. One example is that the protections apply to any form of discrimination based on “gender identification or a failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.”
Allegations Against LGBTQ Students
It is now estimated that LGBTQ students comprise 10% of the total U.S. undergraduate student enrollment. Administrators are often overworked and may move hastily without properly considering the rights of accused students. LGBTQ students faced with such allegations should consider retaining an attorney to serve in an advisory role. In part, an experienced attorney will make certain that an accused student's rights and interests are protected during the investigation, if a hearing is held, and if an appeal is necessary to challenge any findings and/or sanctions.
Having an Attorney as an Advisor
Most institutions do allow all parties to be accompanied by an advisor. Many institutions limit the active participation of advisors in proceedings. Having an attorney as your advisor will likely ensure you are adequately prepared to confidently respond to questions and issue effective statements.
Experienced Legal Advisor for Title IX Disciplinary Matters
Are you a student in North Dakota accused of acts such as sexual misconduct at an educational institution? Joseph D. Lento is a lawyer that well-versed in these proceedings and will work to create a positive outcome. You are encouraged to contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.
North Dakota 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
- Bismarck State College
- Cankdeska Cikana Community College
- Dakota College at Bottineau
- Dickinson State University
- Fort Berthold Community College
- Jamestown College
- Lake Region State College
- Mayville State University
- Minot State University
- North Dakota State College of Science
- North Dakota State University Main Campus
- Sitting Bull College
- Trinity Bible College
- Turtle Mountain Community College
- United Tribes Technical College
- University of Mary
- University of North Dakota
- Valley City State University
- Williston State 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 North Dakota 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.