It's no secret that education pays. A strong performance in high school can open doors for college, and a successful college career has the power to jumpstart a career. Many years of hard work and countless hours of study are one of the many prices we pay for an education. At the same time, students can face barriers beyond classroom challenges that could seriously derail their academic goals – one of the scariest is a Title IX violation.
What Is Title IX?
The Title IX of the Education Amendments was introduced in 1972 to protect students from discrimination on the basis of sex. It was observed at the time that female students faced many obstacles to achieving the same standard of education and athletic accommodations as their male counterparts. The preemptive language of the legislature states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance[.]” Title IX goes further to address the particular challenges female students face regarding sexual misconduct, namely harassment, and assault.
How Does Title IX Affect You?
As it is a federal law, Title IX requires compliance of all institutions receiving federal funding. While the law applies to schools and universities nationally, enforcement varies from state to state and even from school to school. That means understanding how a Title IX infraction will be handled can be challenging. Further, Title IX details and enforcement are ever-changing, adding increased confusion to an already sensitive matter. The Trump Presidency brought sweeping changes to Title IX, followed immediately by the Biden administration attempting to repeal many of those changes.
Regardless of the specifics, allegations of sexual misconduct are extremely serious and have rippling consequences not only for the accuser but for the accused and for the school as a whole. We expect Universities and other institutions to act in the best interest of their students, though we cannot assume they don't also have their own best interest in mind as well. And the interest of a federally funded University is certainly in not appearing on the wrong side of a sexual misconduct case. As such, we can expect these well-funded schools to pull out all the stops in terms of legal support. As someone facing an accusation of sexual misconduct, it's critical you do the same.
How Is a Title IX Accusation Investigated?
Institutions spell out the complaint, investigation, and appeals processes in the student handbooks or codes of conduct. While there is some variation in the details, the general proceeding is the same. It begins with the accused student being notified of the complaint immediately before any investigation takes place – it's at this point the student must seek the help of a seasoned professional to secure a fighting chance at beating the accusation. From there, the following steps are taken:
- Following a complaint being issued, the respondent has the following rights:
- Information on the nature and source of the complaint
- Ability to continue with their studies while being presumed not responsible of the accusation
- The right to obtain a professional advisor
- An Investigator is then assigned to look into the accusation. The investigator interviews both parties involved, offering the respondent a chance to record his version of events. Note: it is highly recommended to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney who can advise on the best way to proceed with such interviews.
- A hearing may be conducted following the investigation. Circumstances vary from case to case, so consult an advisor who can identify whether a hearing is appropriate and, if so, how to proceed in his own best interest.
- Following the investigation and review, designated decision-maker(s) deliberate over the information gathered. Note, decision-makers do not require irrefutable evidence in order to find the respondent responsible – they must only be swayed a little more than halfway towards guilty versus innocent.
- The decision-makers hand down a decision, and both sides have the opportunity to appeal.
- If an appeal is sought by either party, certain criteria must be met, new evidence must be gathered, or there must be proof that the original proceedings were not carried out fairly. If either is found to be true, a new hearing will be conducted.
- Following the appeals hearing, a final decision is made, and the case is effectively closed.
What Are the Consequences of a Title IX Violation?
The specific consequences of a Title IX infraction vary since it is in the hands of the decision-makers at the University to hand down sanctions against the responsible student. Suspension is usually the minimum penalty, and expulsion is common.
As stated, a student's academic career has serious implications for his career path. So an expulsion at any level of education can have very real and long-lasting effects. Not only does an expelled student's academic year get disrupted and potentially even ended prematurely, but they may also struggle to gain admittance to another institution. At the very least, a student can expect a delay in completing his academic coursework. At most, the consequences could be far greater.
How Can Attorney Joseph Lento Help?
When it comes to navigating Title IX issues, enlist the help of an experienced advisor. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has built a career supporting hundreds of students across the country navigate the murky waters of Title IX accusation. He stays abreast of the complex and ever-changing legal landscape, and he's passionate about helping students and their families manage the confusion.
Your career matters; don't derail it before it has a chance to begin. Enlist the help of a seasoned Title IX Attorney. Contact the Lento Law Firm's Oklahoma office at 888-555-3686 or submit your request using the automated online form. Most importantly, stay calm: we can get through this together.
Oklahoma 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:
- Bacone College
- Brown Mackie College Tulsa
- Cameron University
- Career Point College
- Carl Albert State College
- Connors State College
- DeVry University Oklahoma
- East Central University
- Eastern Oklahoma State College
- Family of Faith College
- Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College
- ITT Technical Institute Oklahoma City
- ITT Technical Institute Tulsa
- Langston University
- Mid America Christian University
- Murray State College
- National American University Tulsa
- Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College
- Northeastern State University
- Northern Oklahoma College
- Northwestern Oklahoma State University
- Oklahoma Baptist University
- Oklahoma Christian University
- Oklahoma City Community College
- Oklahoma City University
- Oklahoma Panhandle State University
- Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Okmulgee
- Oklahoma State University Main Campus
- Oklahoma State University Oklahoma City
- Oklahoma Wesleyan University
- Oral Roberts University
- Redlands Community College
- Rogers State University
- Rose State College
- Saint Gregorys University
- Seminole State College
- Southeastern Oklahoma State University
- Southern Nazarene University
- Southwestern Christian University
- Southwestern Oklahoma State University
- Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology
- Tulsa Community College
- University of Central Oklahoma
- University of Oklahoma Norman Campus
- University of Phoenix Oklahoma City Campus
- University of Phoenix Tulsa Campus
- University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma
- University of Tulsa
- Vatterott College Tulsa
- Western Oklahoma State College
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 and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in Oklahoma and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today