Sexual misconduct allegations are damaging and stressful. It is imperative you are fully aware of your school's processes when facing such allegations. For the purposes of this article, we will provide a brief overview of Notre Dame of Maryland University's Title IX process.
Title IX Process
The university aims to investigate and resolve allegations of sexual misconduct within a 60-day time period. However, this timeline may be extended if necessary.
Filing a complaint
There are certain terms that a Title IX coordinator, school authorities and anyone else involved in these processes will use to characterize you and other parties. An individual who identifies as a victim/survivor will be known as a “complainant.” In some circumstances, a school will take on the role of a complainant. You, a person who has been accused of exhibiting this alleged misconduct will be referred to as a “respondent.”
Notre Dame of Maryland University strongly encourages each member of its campus community to report any actions they've witnessed, heard, or experienced, that could constitute as sexual misconduct to the school. The university has also implemented guidelines that require employees of the school, also known as “responsible employees,” to report a complaint to the school in the event that they hear of any instances of this misconduct. Once a school receives notice of these allegations, the Title IX process will immediately be initiated.
Interim protective measures
When a Title IX coordinator receives word of alleged sexual misconduct, their main concern becomes the safety of a complainant. To prevent the occurrence of retaliation (another serious violation of school policy), the school will impose interim protective measures to keep complainants and respondents separated throughout the course of processes. The following measures may be imposed upon respondents:
- The implementation of a no contact order (no verbal, electronic, written or third party communication)
- Changes in work schedule or job assignment
- Housing arrangements
- Restrictive access to certain areas of the university etc.
If in the complaint and meetings with a complainant, there is reason to proceed with the process, a full on investigation will be conducted. Third party investigators will be appointed to interview all the parties involved and gain a more detailed understanding of what occurred. Based off of all the information they've garnered, the investigators will draft an investigative finding to be sent to a Title IX coordinator. From there, he or she will dictate whether or not a hearing is necessary.
A hearing is the last chance for each party to tell their story. A panel will listen to testimony, cross-examinations (in some circumstances) and final statements before deliberating and making a final determination of responsibility.
If a respondent does not agree with a determination or sanction, he or she is granted the option of requesting an appeal. Students have 5 days from receiving notification of the results to file an appeal. The sole grounds of an appeal are:
- New information that was not previously available has come to light that could have significantly impacted a case outcome
- The sanction was disproportionate to the severity of the violation
- Investigators exhibited apparent bias
- The finding is clearly at odds with the evidence presented etc.
Title IX Advisor
Choosing an attorney to accompany you through Title IX processes is the only way to ensure that your rights are protected and that you truly receive a fair and impartial investigation and hearing. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento is dedicated to helping you defend yourself effectively. Contact him today for help.
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 future 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 to students facing disciplinary cases in Maryland and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help.