When a college or university professor stands accused of a Title IX violation, the implications for his or her career have the potential to be devastating. Colleges and universities hold students to a high level of accountability in Title IX cases, and schools hold professors to a higher level yet.
Due to the nature of the charges, schools are often all too quick to jump the gun and can establish a view of the case fixated on punishing the alleged perpetrator, rather than conducting a fair and equitable investigation to make sure that the allegations are true, and not overstated. In so many cases, when the facts all finally come to light, the case looks much different than when initially alleged by the alleged "victim" in the case. You deserve to have your rights protected all the way through the process by a highly experienced Title IX defense attorney.
If you are a college or university professor accused of violating Title IX, Joseph D. Lento is here to help. You deserve to have your rights protected, and the Lento Law Firm has helped countless professors face down these accusations at colleges and universities across the United States.
Experienced Title IX Defense Attorney
Joseph D. Lento has many years of experience in defending those accused of Title IX violations, including professors at universities and colleges throughout the United States. Understanding the ins and outs of Title IX cases requires the type of hard work and experienced Lento brings to work with him every single day. Every case deserves the best possible protection, including yours.
Joseph Lento is an experienced negotiator, and some Title IX cases can be resolved amicably with the right negotiator by your side. When cases cannot be resolved through such efforts, he has the years of experience needed to fight your case all the way to the end, including through any necessary appeal. You will always rest easy, knowing that your rights are protected by a highly competent attorney.
What is Title IX?
While most Title IX cases tend to focus on interactions between students, it is not uncommon for professors to be accused of Title IX violations. Title IX is federal legislation that sets standards on how colleges, universities, and other academic institutions handle sexual discrimination and sexual violence on campus. Specifically, the law requires any school receiving federal funding to keep in compliance with its regulations. Specifically, when someone refers to Title IX, they are referring to the statute 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a):
"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."
Sexual misconduct is considered gender-based discrimination, along with proven instances of bullying, employment discrimination, and unfair and disproportionate opportunities in intercollegiate sports and educational programs.
Title IX Cases for Professors
For the most part, Title IX cases for professors are the same as those for students. Each suffers from certain deficiencies in the process that can be difficult for those accused of a violation, including:
- improper procedural or evidentiary standards in place
- Investigators serving as both judge and jury
- Deficiencies in due process for a person accused of violation
- Use of the wrong standard of proof
- Assumption that all accusers are telling the truth and are "victims"
Differences for Professors
These cases can also be different than a typical student to student Title IX cases. Due to the fact that professors are employees of the school, there are also other procedural rules or processes that may interact with the Title IX process. This includes:
- Tenure policies
- Sexual harassment policies
- Collective bargaining agreements
- Employment agreements
- Faculty Handbook and Discipline Guidelines
- Employee Handbooks
- Employee disciplinary processes and appeals processes
Professors also face a less formal effect on themselves as schools will often assume the "victim" is telling the truth with little to no investigation. When these stories make it to the media, or even around the school's gossip pool, the school may take disciplinary action against you early in order to look like it is "doing something." In many instances, for example, professors will be subject to an "interim" or temporary suspension pending the outcome of the Title IX case (which often will take months from start to finish - the professor being suspended from teaching and other responsibilities all the while.)
Mandatory Reporting Requirements for Professors
Professors as educators, and as employees of colleges or universities, are subject to certain mandatory reporting requirements. U.S. law requires “responsible employees” to report any suspected cases of sexual misconduct and any other inequitable behavior to the school's Title IX coordinator in every circumstance. Whether these allegations come directly from a student's mouth or if it is hearsay, it must be reported without hesitation. If the professor fails to report as required by the law, he or she could face Title IX violation allegations as a result.
All too often with these types of cases, the professor did not realize the nature of what was happening with the student, and may not have realized the reporting requirements this invoked. While this is not always a technical legal defense, it can go a long way in preventing the worst possible punishments when presented by a highly experienced attorney.
Your Rights as a Professor
As an employee of a college or university, you are entitled to certain rights that must be protected. Violations of these rights by the school can act as the basis for dismissal of the charges against you, or an effective appeal. Schools are expected to follow Title IX processes and resolve complaints appropriately. School employees, including professors, are entitled to certain rights by their employer, including:
- Privacy (within the confines of university policy)
- Access to the university's Title IX policy
- To be treated with respect and dignity
- Notification of the allegations made against you
- A prompt and thorough investigation of allegations
Although universities are required to protect these rights, they often fail to do so. Schools caught violating the rules and regulations they themselves have created can be the basis for an appeal, or even be the basis for a lawsuit against the school itself for violating your rights.
Consult a Title IX Defense Attorney
Professors who stand accused of Title IX violations need the best possible protection. These charges can destroy your career if left undefended. You have the right to the best possible representation throughout the Title IX process.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has a firm understanding of the issues professors face and has helped countless professors with such concerns at colleges and universities across the United States. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today for help.