Federal civil rights law Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in any educational program or activity that receives federal funding. This includes most schools in Maryland, including the majority of the state's colleges and universities. Title IX addresses sexual assault, sexual harassment, or any gender-based discrimination that could possibly create a hostile environment for any student, staff, or member of the college community.
When a student is found “responsible” for violating Title IX, he or she has the right to appeal this decision and/or sanction, especially in cases where there's speculation that a decision was unfair.
Right to Appeal
The appeals process in higher education institutions is the way in which schools are held accountable for their decisions. School committees, faculty members, and authorities are not infallible and are capable of making mistakes that can adversely impact the lives of students. Therefore, complainants and respondents are entitled the right to appeal a case outcome. The right to appeal Title IX cases exists to ensure that, as far as realistically possible, boards and committees conducting hearings will eventually come to a correct and fair decision. The decisions made by an authority who reviews appeals is assumed to be reasonable.
In most cases, students tend to appeal an entire determination and sanction, but a sanction can also be appealed independently. Any uncertainties pertaining to which course of action should be taken in a student's unique case should be addressed by an experienced student defense attorney. A violation of Title IX exposes student respondents to harsh penalties. This is why it's important that you fully understand your right to appeal an outcome in your case.
Grounds for an Appeal
Mere dissatisfaction with a case is not enough to get an appeal granted at a college. An appeal must be based on grounds strictly related to the procedural methods in the disciplinary process. A request for an appeal is not the time to bring up new evidence used to support a respondent's claim of innocence (unless it is new evidence that wasn't available before). Basically, a decision to appeal determination and/or sanction is dependent on a committee's ability to review and establish at least one of four specific grounds:
- Procedural error: an error made throughout the entire disciplinary process was made that substantially affected the outcome of a determination and/or sanction.
- New evidence is available: new evidence that could have significantly advantaged a respondent and have a great impact on an outcome became available after a hearing.
- There was a violation of due process rights: an appeals committee must assess whether a respondent was not stripped of any of their entitled rights.
- Disproportionate sanction: the sanction was unduly disproportionate to the severity of a violation.
If an appeal is not deemed substantively ineligible by the school, the original finding and sanction will stand.
Maryland Title IX Appeal Advisor
If you are a student attending a Maryland university or college who is contemplating appealing an outcome in your Title IX case, you need the help of a skilled attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has advocated for numerous students in this situation, ranging from undergraduate students to masters and doctoral students. He's helped them win appeals when their circumstances seemed bleak. He has the skills and expertise to do the same for you. Contact him today.
Maryland colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Bowie State University
- Capitol Technology University
- Coppin State University
- Frostburg State University
- Goucher College
- Hood College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Loyola University Maryland
- Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)
- Maryland University of Integrative Health
- McDaniel College
- Morgan State University
- Mount St. Mary's University
- Notre Dame of Maryland University
- St. John's College
- St. Mary's College of Maryland
- Salisbury University
- Steven University
- Towson University
- United States Naval Academy (exempt from Title IX and the Clery Act)
- University of Baltimore
- University of Maryland, Baltimore
- University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- University of Maryland, College Park
- University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
- University of Maryland, University College
- University of Maryland, Biotechnology Institute
- University of Maryland, Environmental Science
- USM Hagerstown
- Universities at Shady Grove
- Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (exempt from Title IX and the Clery Act)
A Title IX finding of responsibility can change an accused student's life if not properly addressed and appealed, and Joseph D. Lento has a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients 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 Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in Maryland and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.