There are now 13 colleges and universities located in Rhode Island with an annual enrollment of approximately 30,000 students. Educational institutions must comply with Title IX provisions to remain eligible for federal educational funding. Title IX was a 1972 amendment implemented by the U.S. Department of Education and overseen by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The provisions require that schools develop policies and procedures for formally addressing allegations of sexually-based discrimination.
Examples of Violations
Acts of gender-oriented harassment in an educational environment may be committed by students, staff, faculty or people visiting an institution. Common types of harassment include sexual advances or requests for sexual favors. These acts may be committed verbally, nonverbally or physically.
Sexual violence is a form of harassment involving physical acts committed against an unwilling victim. The victim may not be capable of consenting to engage in sexual activity. Forms of sexual violence may include rape, sexual battery, and coercion. Who is considered to be incapable of consenting to such sexual activity?
- Those who are underage and thus are unable to legally consent
- Individuals that are impaired or incapacitated resulting from drug or alcohol abuse
- Those with cognitive disabilities that are incapable of consenting
Other prohibited acts of harassment include slurs, threats, and other actions that create a hostile environment. Discrimination may involve unfairly denying entry to or preventing access or participation in the admissions process, educational programs, athletics or other campus activities.
Naming a Title IX Coordinator
Each institution designates a Title IX Coordinator that is responsible for maintaining compliance. All written policies and procedures must be made easily accessible to students, faculty, and staff. Upon receipt of an allegation, an investigation into the accusations should commence promptly. The process may involve witness testimony and the accused is to be provided a written description of all allegations.
Approximately 10% of undergraduate students identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer (LGBTQ). If an LGBTQ student is falsely accused of a form of sexual misconduct they may feel prone to premature judgments based on stereotypes that wrongly characterize them. Most institutions allow parties involved to select an advisor to assist and support them. Here, the student may benefit tremendously by having an attorney assume this role.
Hearings and Decisions
Many institutions conduct hearings attended by all parties. An advisor may attend these proceedings; however, they are often restricted to some extent from active participation. An experienced attorney is likely to ensure the respondent is well organized to make clear statements and effectively answer questions.
The evidence must satisfy a preponderance of the evidence or clear and convincing evidentiary standard to be proven. The Title IX Coordinator or another administrator may have responsibility for making a ruling. Some schools use a hearing panel composed of multiple individuals.
The most commonly imposed sanctions on those who commit violations include suspension or dismissal from the institution. Those who receive an adverse ruling may have the option of appealing the ruling. Because of what is at stake, an experienced attorney will protect an accused student's interests and rights during the investigation, if a hearing is held, and if an appeal becomes necessary.
Effective Student Advisory Representation in Title IX Disciplinary Proceedings
Joseph D. Lento is an attorney that has amassed a wealth of knowledge on practices and strategies for effectively representing students in Rhode Island in these matters. He will ensure that your rights are protected and act according to your best interests. You are encouraged to contact the office at (888) 535-3686 today.
Rhode Island 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
- Brown University
- Bryant University
- Community College of Rhode Island
- Johnson & Wales University – Providence
- Naval War College (exempt from Title IX and the Clery Act)
- New England Institute of Technology
- Providence College
- Rhode Island College
- Rhode Island School of Design
- Roger Williams University
- Salve Regina University
- University of Rhode Island
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 Rhode Island 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.