The administration of New York University (NYU) maintains a commitment to preventing the many forms of sexually-based discrimination. This is done to remain compliant with federal Title IX guidelines that pertain to educational institutions that receive funding from federal sources. These provisions were drafted by NYU and are contained within the Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking Policy. Any members of the academic community that are deemed to have violated the guidelines of conduct may be subject to disciplinary actions.
Key Responsibilities for Title IX Compliance at Colleges & Universities
The U.S. Department of Education outlines the key requirements that educational institutions must adhere to. Schools are to foster an environment that is free from hostility and the various forms of sex-based harassment. When an institution is informed of a potential violation, they are tasked with responding to investigate in a timely manner. The administration may use sanctions and other remedies to enforce and deter actions that violate the rules relating to gender-based harassment and sexual misconduct.
Resources for Victims on Campus
The NYU Wellness Exchange has a team of Crisis Response Counselors that will provide support in a confidential manner. They are experienced in assisting those who may be victims of dating violence, stalking, and other misconduct of a sexual nature. The staff is on-hand and is trained in intervening during periods of crisis and facilitating access to medical care when needed.
What is Affirmative Consent?
The concept of affirmative consent in these matters refers to whether participants have knowingly and willingly engaged in sexual activity. Someone may give consent through words or actions that demonstrate willingness. Consent may never be obtained through physical force, intimidation, or other forms of coercion.
Determination after Assessment
The NYU administration will initially determine whether evidence exists that justifies moving ahead with an investigation. An accused party would be informed of such actions if a decision to proceed is made. During this period, the administration may impose interim measures, such as prohibiting contact between the opposing parties amid the disciplinary process.
Both the Complainant and Respondent will both be afforded opportunities to express themselves, assess the evidence, and identify potential witnesses. The interactions in the investigative process are conducted individually with parties. Witnesses will not be used for the sole purpose of evaluating the character of a party.
Right to an Advisor
Both the Complainant and Respondent have the right to have a designated advisor that functions in a supportive capacity. This individual may accompany them to related meetings. The advisor is to refrain from active participation in meetings and is to avoid creating disruption. The advisor is not afforded the opportunity to address those who are facilitating the hearing or meeting or to pose questions to witnesses.
Using an Attorney as an Advisor
The policies at NYU allow for an attorney to act as an advisor. It is important to note that the disciplinary process is not intended to be comparable to civil or criminal actions. These actions are “administrative” in nature compared to legal proceedings.
The Adjudicator may ask questions suggested by the parties that they deem relevant. Parties may also submit statements in response to evidence or assertions made. At the hearing, evidence may be presented from both sides. At the end of the hearing, both parties may issue a closing statement.
The University Student Conduct Procedures outline the potential sanctions that may be imposed for violations as follows:
- Verbal or written warning
- Imposing a probationary period for a specified time
- That an individual submit to an assessment or counseling
- Ordering that monetary restitution be paid
- Revoking privileges or implementation of restrictions including directives prohibiting contact
- Suspension from the institution
- Adding notations that show evidence of disciplinary measures on transcripts
Documentation on Records/Transcripts
When the accused is determined to have committed a violation that is considered a “crime of violence”, evidence of such may be noted in their transcript. This classification is defined according to New York State Education Law § 6444(6) and the sanctions may include suspension or dismissal. The transcript may have a notation such as “Expelled…for code of conduct violation”.
Process of Appeal
Requests to appeal a ruling must be made within five business days. The grounds that are acceptable for justifying an appeal include:
- Assertions that there was a procedural mistake
- New evidence has emerged that could have altered the ruling
- That sanctions imposed are excessive
The opposing party will be made aware of the appeal and may enter a statement in response. The appeal is decided by an Appeal Panel. The parties do not have another hearing. This Panel will render a decision within 15 days. The decision may affirm the prior ruling, make a modification to sanction(s) or order the matter to be reevaluated by the original Adjudicator.
New York University Title IX Coordinator Contact
Mary Signor, Executive Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity
New York, NY 10003
How Would I Benefit From Legal Representation?
College and university students should be aware of the potential severity of the sanctions that may be imposed for these types of violations. These relate exclusively to the institution's disciplinary process, which is distinct from any potential criminal charges that are the responsibility of the local authorities. Institutions of higher learning are typically more focused on minimizing their costs that relate to staff and faculty than ever before. Often the administrators handling these disciplinary matters are doing so while also balancing a host of other responsibilities. Under these circumstances, it is possible that they may inadvertently operate with minimal regard for the rights of the accused.
Student Title IX Defense Attorney at NYU
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has spent years representing students facing Title IX violations, as well as those engaged in many other areas of campus disciplinary action. Effective representation that includes being well prepared for a hearing can often have a significant impact on the outcome and consequences. Please contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for details.