Blog

Male College Students Are Fighting Back Against Allegations of Campus Sexual Assault

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

In the recent past, three male college students made national news by suing their schools, all prestigious colleges and universities, after getting suspended or expelled as a result of being found responsible for alleged sexual misconduct and/or sexual assault.  The three male students, as often is the case, claimed their sexual encounters with the three female students in question was consensual.  The three female students claimed otherwise.  Title IX sexual misconduct disciplinary charges were brought against the three male students under their respective schools' Title IX requirements regarding sexual misconduct cases.  Title IX itself is legislation passed in 1972 that bans sex discrimination by schools receiving federal funding. 

Some contend that because of Title IX requirements, there is undue pressure on colleges and universities by outside interests, including the federal government, to regard those accused of sexual misconduct as being presumed guilty.   This would be in stark contrast to the protections afforded a criminal defendant accused of sexual offenses.  Despite the incredible burdens that come with criminal charges, a criminal defendant is afforded the most basic protection of being presumed innocent. 

Students, usually male, but not always, are now asserting that the Title IX disciplinary process used by most colleges and universities is one-sided, and at most basic level, unfair to those accused.  In some cases, male students are bringing legal action against their schools under Title IX itself; arguing that the collegiate disciplinary process is stacked against them because of their gender, and as such, is in violation of Title IX.  Although it is rare among colleges and universities when disciplinary charges are brought under Title IX, some schools continue to prefer to keep disciplinary proceedings and hearing between the accused student, university personnel, and the complainant.  At such schools, accused students are not afforded the most basic of rights.  Namely, having the benefit of an attorney experienced in such matters; indispensable  in light of the nature of an Title IX school hearing and what is at stake.  Even at schools that welcome an attorney on behalf of an accused student, most schools do not allow the accused to confront their accusers directly; instead having questions posed through and/or by the Title IX conduct board.  Having attended countless Title IX hearings, it is obvious that such a policy can present an incredible number of concerns; especially if one is not familiar with the process, which is the case with almost all accused students.

Those calling for change and a more equitable process regarding the Title IX disciplinary process also note the 2011 Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights directive that gives both the accused student and the complainant the right to appeal a Title IX decision.  Even if an accused student is found not responsible by their school at the Title IX hearing, the student is arguably subject to double jeopardy in that the complainant can appeal the decision, and the accused can nonetheless be thereafter found responsible.  Per the 2011 directive, the Department of Education also called for schools to apply a lower burden of proof in cases involving allegations of sexual misconduct and/or sexual assault.  Whereas the higher standard of "clear and convincing evidence" was previously used by some schools, the Department of Education called for the lower standard of "preponderance of the evidence" to be used. 

Arguments can be made both for and against how colleges and universities pursue and handle Title IX cases, but there can be no dispute that an accused student is essentially being tried for what amounts to an extremely serious criminal offense in a setting so far outside the bounds of a criminal courtroom, and its inherent protections and safeguard, that the school disciplinary process has fundamental flaws.  This is why the the three male students are fighting back by suing their schools; arguing that their right to a fair hearing was violated.  These lawsuits will only increase in number because colleges and universities are increasing their efforts to comply with Title IX mandates by more aggressively pursuing cases involving allegations of campus sex offenses.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at universities and colleges across the United States while concurrently fighting in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, and New Jersey. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand universities and colleges across the United States. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

footer-2.jpg

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu