An Example of the Difficult Process of Lodging a Title IX Appeal: Penn State

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Colleges face intense pressure to vigorously investigate and prosecute allegations of sexual misconduct, like harassment or rape, that implicate Title IX. If there is even the perception that the school is dragging its feet in enforcing the provisions of its code of conduct that relate to sexual misconduct, Title IX can strip the school of its federal funding. Therefore, colleges have been known to pay short shrift to an accused student's due process rights while they protect what is often their primary source of funding, especially when it comes to a student's right to appeal what is often an inevitable outcome at the Title IX hearing.

The code of conduct at Pennsylvania State University, the largest college in the state of Pennsylvania, provides a fairly typical example of how difficult it can be to appeal an adverse outcome at the end of a Title IX case.

Penn State's Run-of-the-Mill Provisions for Appealing a Title IX Case

In the grand scheme of things, Penn State's provisions for appealing the outcome of a Title IX hearing are pretty normal. Contained in Penn State's Code of Conduct at Section VI(G)(2), appeals from a Title IX, or any misconduct hearing, for that matter, require a student to show one of four things:

  1. The appealing student has been deprived of their rights
  2. The procedures for the investigation and hearing were not followed, and this breach of the rules impacted the outcome of the case
  3. New evidence, which was not available during the earlier hearing and would have impacted the outcome of the case, has come to light
  4. The sanctions issued at the hearing were either outside the permissible range or were otherwise unjustified

Most schools have procedural barriers like these in place to reduce the number of appeals and keep the outcome of as many hearings as possible finalized. However, these particular requirements also keep lots of strong appeals from ever happening.

The Problem of Evidentiary Showings in Appeals Documents

Whenever a requirement for lodging an appeal is to show that evidence or a procedural error would have “affected the outcome” of a case, the person trying to make the appeal is put in a very difficult position. They essentially have to show that they should have won, in order to have their case reheard so they can show that they should have won. This allows the appellate board for a Title IX case to do most of the legwork in determining an appeal, even before hearing it.

Coupled with the fact that many schools require appeals to be filed in a very short timeframe – Penn State only allows appeals lodged within five days of the lower hearing panel's decision – these procedural barriers to an appeal can be damning to even the strongest case. Nonetheless, depending on the circumstances, it may be a step that must be taken.

Joseph D. Lento: A National Title IX Attorney

Joseph D. Lento understands and prepares for these procedural difficulties, even as the case is progressing through the lower hearing process. Tap into his knowledge of the Title IX system by calling his law office at (888) 535-3686 or by contacting him online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he has sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address school-related issues and concerns anywhere in the United States.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!


If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact our offices today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.