Conversations about college Title IX enforcement in regard to sexual assault and harassment tend to devolve into arguments entrenched in political polarization. With every new development in this federal law comes a mud-slinging match on the political spectrum - either involving liberals and their perceived oversensitivity, or conservatives and their apathy towards victims and so on. In the midst of bureaucratic mayhem, everyone loses sight of the real issue. Backed by evidence and the current climate in higher education, it's apparent that the way in which colleges and universities are enforcing Title IX is deeply flawed.
The rate of lawsuits alleging unfair investigations against schools by both the accused and accusers should have made this clear. More so, a standout case involving the University of Southern California, a student accused of rape, and a massive payout ($111,965 to be exact), may implicate serious issues with colleges and universities on a national scale.
A student identified as “John Doe” filed a lawsuit against USC alleging that his Title IX investigation was “improperly biased.” And thus influenced his school's decision to expel him. According to the lawsuit, USC's Title IX officials forgot to hang up the phone after speaking with Doe. He overheard the officials calling him a “motherf**ker and labeling his accuser, “Roe,” as “a catch,” who is “cute” and “intelligent.”
Doe's attorney asserted that the comments made by the personnel were not mistakes (as the school characterized them as) and that their mistake lied in being overheard. He went on to say that the hostile attitudes and unfair treatment exhibited by these officials is a mutual experience among most accused students going through these process.
The suit also alleged that the school allowed a biased official to oversee the Title IX review panel, leading to the exclusion of a substantial quantity of Doe's evidence in the final report. This evidence included testimony from an important witness, who happened to be the only one who saw Doe and Roe together in the aftermath of the alleged incident.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White ruled in favor of Doe. She cited that the investigation was, in fact, unfair and partial. White ordered that the school reinstate Doe for his expulsion and that his attorney fees - estimated over $100,000 - are paid off.
Overlooking the importance of unbiased personnel is where USC and most likely many other colleges go wrong. The service that Title IX officials, panel members, and other staff members provide is of great importance. Their actions will ultimately determine if a case was handled how Title IX intends - with integrity.
Nationwide Title IX Advisor
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. For respondents, especially, the assistance of an attorney advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.