If you or your child has been accused of a Title IX violation in North Carolina, make no mistake: you have a difficult road ahead. Title IX is a complex law, and it seems to change almost every year. In 2020, for example, the Trump administration created a completely new set of guidelines for how the law should be enforced. In 2021, the Biden administration issued a directive that explained how schools might get around the Trump guidelines. How are you supposed to defend yourself when the rules are in a constant state of flux?
Here's the good news: you don't have to do it all alone. Current Title IX rules allow you to choose an advisor to help you with your case. That advisor can be—and should be—a Title IX attorney, someone who knows the law, someone with experience dealing with school faculty and administrators.
Title IX Investigations
A Title IX case has two parts: An investigation and a hearing.
The investigative portion is designed to gather the basic facts of the allegation.
- Your school has a Title IX Coordinator and may have an entire office devoted to sexual misconduct complaints. Anyone may report an offense to this Coordinator, and in fact, at some schools, all staff are required to report any knowledge they may have of misconduct. However, only a complainant or the Title IX Coordinator may actually sign an official complaint.
- As soon as the Coordinator has opened a case, they must provide you with written notice. This notice should include a description of the allegation along with the name of the complainant.
- The school should let you know all of the rights you're entitled to. Among these, you should be presumed “not responsible” (innocent) until proven responsible. In addition, you have the right to select an advisor who may be an attorney.
- The investigation itself is conducted by an appointed Investigator. This person will interview you and the complainant separately. You should be allowed to bring your advisor with you to this meeting, though they probably can't speak for you.
- The Investigator will also gather any physical evidence and talk with any witnesses. You have the right to make them aware of anything they may have missed.
- At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator must complete a full report on their findings. Both you and the complainant have the right to read this report and to suggest revisions. It is then sent to the Coordinator.
Title IX Hearings
The second part of a case is the hearing. Basically, one or more “decision-makers” will review the facts and determine whether or not you are responsible for a violation.
College and university students have the right, under Title IX, to an official, live hearing. High schools may hold live hearings, but Title IX does not require it. Instead, a single decision-maker may review the investigative report, gather any additional information they need, and make their decision.
- Typically, a Hearing Official will preside over the proceedings, making decisions about what evidence may be admitted and what kinds of questions may be asked.
- Both sides will have an opportunity to present their side of the case. You may introduce evidence and call witnesses on your behalf. In addition, you have the right to cross-examine—through your advisor—the complainant and any witnesses against you. The complainant has the same right.
- Once all the evidence has been presented, the Hearing Officer or panel of decision-makers decide whether or not you are responsible for a violation. In doing this, they use what is known as the “preponderance of evidence.” In a criminal court, you would be judged by the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. “Preponderance of evidence” is far less strict. Decision-makers must find you responsible if they believe it is more than fifty percent likely that you committed a violation.
Finally, either side can appeal the hearing ruling, but there are restrictions. First, you have only a limited time frame in which to file your appeal. Second, you can only appeal the ruling for certain very specific reasons, such as the discovery of new evidence or obvious mistakes in the Title IX procedures.
What Is at Stake in a Title IX Case?
Title IX doesn't mandate what penalties a school can impose on a responsible student. Most schools will tell you they use a range of sanctions, anything from a verbal warning to restitution to expulsion. The truth is, though, that in today's political climate, a school can't risk being labeled as soft on sex offenses. The minimum sanction you can expect is suspension. More likely, your school will expel you if you're found responsible.
Expulsion, in and of itself, is a traumatic event. It means the disruption of your academic progress. It means leaving a place that you may have come to think of as home.
Expulsion can have long-lasting repercussions as well, though. First, your school may include a notation on your transcript about the exact nature of your offense. That could keep you from enrolling anywhere else. Your academic progress might not just be interrupted; it might be over. Of course, that can affect your ability to get a job and your chances to advance over the course of your career.
What Should You Do?
If you haven't realized it by now, in a Title IX case, everything is at stake, and nothing will be easy. However smart you may be, you're going to need the help of someone who's a professional at dealing with sexual misconduct allegations.
Joseph D. Lento isn't just an attorney. He's a Title IX attorney. What does that mean? It means he's spent his entire career studying Title IX law. He knows the procedures, he knows the history, he knows the politics. Joseph D. Lento has years of experience representing hundreds of clients, just like you, from all types of school misconduct charges. He's a skillful negotiator, used to dealing with faculty and administrators, and he's determined to make sure you get all the rights you deserve.
If you or your child have been accused of Title IX sexual misconduct in North Carolina, don't wait. You need help now. Contact the Lento Law Firm's North Carolina office today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.
North Carolina 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:
- Alamance Community College
- Apex School of Theology
- Appalachian State University
- Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College
- Barton College
- Beaufort County Community College
- Belmont Abbey College
- Bennett College for Women
- Bladen Community College
- Blue Ridge Community College
- Brevard College
- Brunswick Community College
- Cabarrus College of Health Sciences
- Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute
- Campbell University
- Cape Fear Community College
- Carolina Bible College
- Carolina Christian College
- Carteret Community College
- Catawba College
- Catawba Valley Community College
- Central Carolina Community College
- Central Piedmont Community College
- Chowan University
- Cleveland Community College
- Coastal Carolina Community College
- College of the Albemarle
- Craven Community College
- Davidson College
- Davidson County Community College
- DeVry University North Carolina
- Duke University
- Durham Technical Community College
- East Carolina University
- Edgecombe Community College
- Elizabeth City State University
- Elon University
- Fayetteville State University
- Fayetteville Technical Community College
- Forsyth Technical Community College
- Gardner Webb University
- Gaston College
- Grace College of Divinity
- Greensboro College
- Guilford College
- Guilford Technical Community College
- Halifax Community College
- Harrison College
- Haywood Community College
- Heritage Bible College
- Isothermal Community College
- ITT Technical Institute Cary
- ITT Technical Institute Charlotte North
- ITT Technical Institute Charlotte South
- ITT Technical Institute Durham
- ITT Technical Institute High Point
- James Sprunt Community College
- Johnson & Wales University Charlotte
- Johnson C Smith University
- Johnston Community College
- King's College
- Laurel University
- Lees McRae College
- Lenoir Community College
- Lenoir Rhyne University
- Living Arts College
- Livingstone College
- Louisburg College
- Mars Hill University
- Martin Community College
- Mayland Community College
- McDowell Technical Community College
- Meredith College
- Methodist University
- Mid Atlantic Christian University
- Miller Motte College
- Miller Motte College Cary
- Miller Motte College Fayetteville
- Miller Motte College Greenville
- Miller Motte College Raleigh
- Miller Motte College Wilmington
- Mitchell Community College
- Montgomery Community College
- Montreat College
- Mount Olive College
- Nash Community College
- New Life Theological Seminary
- North Carolina A & T State University
- North Carolina Central University
- North Carolina State University at Raleigh
- North Carolina Wesleyan College
- Pamlico Community College
- Pfeiffer University
- Piedmont Community College
- Piedmont International University
- Pitt Community College
- Queens University of Charlotte
- Randolph Community College
- Richmond Community College
- Roanoke Chowan Community College
- Robeson Community College
- Rockingham Community College
- Rowan Cabarrus Community College
- Saint Augustines College
- Salem College
- Sampson Community College
- Sandhills Community College
- Shaw University
- Shepherds Theological Seminary
- South College Asheville
- South Piedmont Community College
- Southeastern Community College
- Southwestern Community College
- St. Andrews University
- Stanly Community College
- Surry Community College
- The Art Institute of Charlotte
- The Art Institute of Raleigh Durham
- Tri County Community College
- University of North Carolina at Asheville
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of North Carolina at Charlotte
- University of North Carolina at Greensboro
- University of North Carolina at Pembroke
- University of North Carolina at Wilmington
- University of North Carolina School of the Arts
- University of Phoenix Charlotte Campus
- University of Phoenix Raleigh Campus
- Vance Granville Community College
- Wake Forest University
- Wake Technical Community College
- Warren Wilson College
- Wayne Community College
- Western Carolina University
- Western Piedmont Community College
- Wilkes Community College
- William Peace University
- Wilson Community College
- Wingate University
- Winston Salem State University
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly 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 North Carolina and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.