Few milestones in life are as pivotal as graduation. Whether it's graduating from high school with dreams of higher learning or finally finishing that Bachelor's degree, advancing in education carries major implications for the future. Most students understand the positive impact of a good education, and the vast majority of young adults take their schooling seriously. Attorney Joseph Lento takes it seriously, too. So, when Title IX allegations arise and threaten a student's progression, the Lento Law Firm is here to help.
What Is Title IX?
In 1972, Title IX of the Education Amendments was introduced as a federal civil rights law to protect students from discrimination on the basis of sex. It was originally introduced to offer female students the same rights to education as their male counterparts, saying,
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[.]
While we may think of this law as pertaining to admissions rights and appropriate athletic facilities for women, it also includes the right to protection from sexual misconduct. Sex-based harassment, including sexual assault, are punishable under Title IX.
How Does Title IX Affect You?
Any school receiving federal funding for its operations is obligated to comply with Title IX policies. The challenge is that governance varies from state to state, institution by institution. Complicating matters even further is the ever-changing landscape of the Title IX conversation at the federal level. With the Trump administration came sweeping changes to the legislation, and in 2021 the Biden administration set out to repeal many of those changes.
Allegations of sexual misconduct are taken very seriously and generally acted on swiftly. While schools are obligated to act in the best interest of their students, it would be naïve to assume they don't have the interests of the institution firmly in mind as well. After all, no school wants to make headlines for mishandling a sexual misconduct case. And these large institutions have Large Institution Resources – there are numerous individuals and significant funds at their disposal to ensure the case turns out in their favor. It's critical that you enlist similar resources should you find yourself on the opposing side of a Title IX issue.
How Is a Title IX Accusation Investigated?
Schools and Universities generally outline the complaint, investigation, and appeals processes for all areas of academic misconduct in their respective student handbooks. A student being accused of sexual misconduct must be notified of the complaint upfront – at which point it is in his best interest to enlist the help of a seasoned professional. Proceedings vary from school to school but generally take the following path:
- At the institution level, a complainant or the Title IX Coordinator issues the official complaint.
- PIVOTAL POINT: Once the complaint is issued, the accused is notified. It is here that the respondent has the following rights:
- Right to know the nature and source of the complaint
- Right to proceed with the course of his education under the presumption of “not responsible” until otherwise determined
- Right to an advisor
- The Coordinator then chooses an Investigator to look into the claims. Interviews are conducted, at which point the respondent has the chance to offer his side of the story. Again, here is a great opportunity to enlist the help of a seasoned attorney with experience in such proceedings.
- In some cases, following the investigation, a hearing may be held. It's important that the respondent understands his rights to a hearing, if applicable, and how best to proceed with one should it be scheduled.
- Once all information is gathered and heard, the designated decision-maker(s) deliberate to arrive at a conclusion. It's worth noting that the decision-makers are not obligated to have irrefutable evidence in order to find the respondent responsible for the actions he is accused of – they must only be swayed in the direction of guilty versus innocent.
- Following a decision, both sides have the opportunity to appeal. If new evidence can be gathered or it can be proven that the original proceedings were not carried out fairly, the investigation may continue.
- Once a decision is made following an appeal, the ruling is final and may no longer be refuted.
What Are the Consequences of a Title IX Violation?
Once again, it is at the discretion of the decision-maker at the University to determine what sanctions to level against the responsible student. Generally, suspension is the minimum penalty, and expulsion is common.
Expulsion from school can have a long-lasting and far-reaching impact on a student's academic career. For instance, Oregon schools may have the right to deny admission to any student who was expelled from another Oregon institution on the grounds of sexual misconduct. And once a person finds himself on the outside looking in, it can be incredibly difficult to get back on the right side of the education system.
When a student's academic progress is so dramatically derailed, the consequences can be devastating. That's why it's critical to get ahead of a Title IX accusation before it careens out of control.
How Can Attorney Joseph Lento Help?
When it comes to navigating Title IX law, it's to your advantage to enlist the help of an experienced advisor. That's where Attorney Joseph D. Lento comes in. Mr. Lento has built a career around supporting students accused of Title IX violations. He knows his way around the complex and ever-changing legal landscape, and he's here to help you wade through the confusion.
Don't let an accusation ruin your career before it even has a chance to start. Enlist the help of a seasoned Title IX Attorney. Contact the Lento Law Firm's Oregon office today at 888-555-3686 or submit your request using our automated online form. Most importantly, don't panic help is just a call away.
Oregon 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:
- Blue Mountain Community College
- Central Oregon Community College
- Chemeketa Community College
- Clackamas Community College
- Clatsop Community College
- Columbia Gorge Community College
- Concordia University Portland
- Corban University
- DeVry University Oregon
- Eastern Oregon University
- Everest College Portland
- George Fox University
- Heald College Portland
- ITT Technical Institute Portland
- Klamath Community College
- Lane Community College
- Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts Portland
- Lewis & Clark College
- Linfield College McMinnville Campus
- Linn Benton Community College
- Marylhurst University
- Mount Angel Seminary
- Mt Hood Community College
- Multnomah University
- New Hope Christian College
- Northwest Christian University
- Oregon Coast Community College
- Oregon College of Art and Craft
- Oregon Institute of Technology
- Oregon State University
- Pacific Northwest College of Art
- Pacific University
- Pioneer Pacific College
- Portland Community College
- Portland State University
- Reed College
- Rogue Community College
- Sanford Brown College Portland
- Southern Oregon University
- Southwestern Oregon Community College
- The Art Institute of Portland
- Tillamook Bay Community College
- Treasure Valley Community College
- Umpqua Community College
- University of Oregon
- University of Phoenix Oregon Campus
- University of Portland
- University of Western States
- Warner Pacific College
- Western Oregon University
- Willamette 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 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 Oregon and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.