There are 64 colleges and universities in Oregon with an annual student enrollment of roughly 160,000. These and most U.S. schools are required to maintain compliance with federal Title IX provisions. Established in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Education, the purpose is to address problems related to sexually-based discrimination in schools. The Oregon Department of Education tracks federal changes to Title IX and is committed to maintaining an “educational environment that is safe, free from discrimination, and aligned with state and federal laws.”
Overview of Title IX Violations
- Title IX is designed to protect all those associated with the institution including students, staff, and faculty
- Sexual harassment is a common type of discrimination that often involves unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors
- In some severe instances, unwilling participants may be subjected to sexual violence such as battery, coercion or rape
- Acts of harassment may be verbal or nonverbal and create a hostile educational environment that is not conducive to learning
- Acts of discrimination may involve denying entry to educational programs, athletic opportunities or various activities based on the victim's gender, gender identity or sexual orientation
Student Rights Afforded According to Title IX
Accused students are afforded certain rights. Respondents must be promptly made aware of the allegations and all evidence is to be disclosed. The accused is entitled to ample time for preparation before answering grievances. These and the complete written procedural guidelines of the institution should be accessible to all students.
Schools must designate a Title IX Coordinator that is responsible for compiling and disseminating the guidelines and information regarding the ways that a complaint may be made. Grievances are addressed promptly and evidence is evaluated such as any witness testimony.
Many schools hold hearings with all the parties present, which are often somewhat informal. Many institutions offer mediation or similar alternative options for the parties to resolve matters amicably.
LGBTQ Students as Respondents
Overworked organizational administrators often move hurriedly through these proceedings without appropriately considering the rights of the accused. LGBTQ students facing such allegations are encouraged to contact an attorney that is familiar with these disciplinary actions. Having experienced advisory representation may ensure you have well-prepared statements, responses, and more.
Proving a Violation
The burden of proof employed may be either a preponderance of the evidence or a clear or convincing evidence standard. The preponderance of the evidence standard has traditionally been used in civil proceedings.
Schools may assign an individual to be responsible for evaluating the evidence and issuing a ruling. Some institutions use a hearing panel comprised of administrators, students, and others. If the allegations are proven, students may face sanctions such as suspension or expulsion. Because of what is at stake and what is involved in such proceedings, an experienced attorney will protect an accused student's rights and interests throughout the process whether it be during the investigation, if a hearing is held, and if an appeal becomes necessary.
Title IX guidelines do not require that an appeals process be implemented; however, the majority of schools have some procedures for appealing. There is often a tight deadline for filing. Seeking the assistance of an experienced lawyer is strongly encouraged in this process.
Legal Advisory Representation for Students in Title IX Disciplinary Matters
Federal provisions associated with Title IX continue to evolve and change. This is common when a new administration assumes control at the federal level. The Lento Law Firm remains abreast of these guidelines and helps accused students in Oregon effectively defend against allegations. Please feel free to contact the office at (888) 535-3686.
Oregon 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
- Blue Mountain Community College
- Central Oregon Community College
- Chemeketa Community College
- Clackamas Community College
- Clatsop Community College
- Columbia Gorge Community College
- Concordia University Portland
- Corban University
- DeVry University Oregon
- Eastern Oregon University
- Everest College Portland
- George Fox University
- Heald College Portland
- ITT Technical Institute Portland
- Klamath Community College
- Lane Community College
- Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Portland
- Lewis & Clark College
- Linfield College McMinnville Campus
- Linn Benton Community College
- Marylhurst University
- Mount Angel Seminary
- Mt Hood Community College
- Multnomah University
- New Hope Christian College
- Northwest Christian University
- Oregon Coast Community College
- Oregon College of Art and Craft
- Oregon Institute of Technology
- Oregon State University
- Pacific Northwest College of Art
- Pacific University
- Pioneer Pacific College
- Portland Community College
- Portland State University
- Reed College
- Rogue Community College
- Sanford Brown College Portland
- Southern Oregon University
- Southwestern Oregon Community College
- The Art Institute of Portland
- Tillamook Bay Community College
- Treasure Valley Community College
- Umpqua Community College
- University of Oregon
- University of Phoenix Oregon Campus
- University of Portland
- University of Western States
- Warner Pacific College
- Western Oregon University
- Willamette 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 Oregon 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.