In 1891, William Marsh Rice, a businessman from Massachusetts, founded what would later become Rice University in Houston, Texas. Rice is a private institution with more than 6,000 students. Rice's Mission Statement includes a commitment to maintaining a “diverse community.” This goal coincides with the U.S. Department of Education's Title IX initiative, which prohibits all forms of sexual discrimination in educational environments.
Reporting Options: Title IX
The Title IX Coordinator is part of the Office of Interpersonal Misconduct Prevention and Support. Students are encouraged to visit the Rich Student Health Center for resources and assistance. Complaints may also be made confidentially using the Mandated Reporter Policy 830.
The University makes efforts to maintain the privacy of all participants. The administration may be required to disclose information when subpoenas are received, such as from entities engaged in criminal or civil proceedings.
Rice University recognizes that those who engage in sexual activity must give consent to participate. Consent involves voluntarily agreeing to participate either through “clear actions or words.” According to Texas law, those age 17 or older can consent. Parties engaged in a sexual encounter should be “alert, aware, and cognitively” capable of making these decisions.
Alcohol or Drug Involvement
The University recognizes that individuals that are intoxicated may be incapable of consenting to participate in sexual activity. Making this determination may be considered based on a host of factors. Examples include whether an individual can control their “physical movements” and if they are cognizant of their “circumstances or surroundings.”
The complaining party and responding party are encouraged to notify the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy IX Coordinator regarding any concerns involving conflicts of interest. Parties may be accompanied by an advisor who functions in a support role amid the proceedings. The responding party will be provided with a written summary of the allegations.
Interviews will be conducted with the parties and any witnesses in the initial phase of the investigation. The complaining party and responding party are typically interviewed separately. The investigation process will typically conclude within 60 days. The administration may implement interim measures such as “no contact orders” as necessary for the safety of the parties and the community.
To prove allegations, the evidence must satisfy a preponderance of the evidence standard. If allegations are proven, the respondent may face sanctions including suspension or dismissal from the institution.
The Appeals Process
Parties may appeal an adverse ruling according to the guidelines in the Code of Student Conduct. Those wishing to appeal must submit written notification within 10 business days. There are three permissible grounds for appeal as follows:
- An assertion that the proceedings were not fairly conducted
- New evidence has emerged that could influence the prior ruling
- The sanctions imposed are “inappropriate” based on the violation(s)
Those who intend to appeal a ruling are encouraged to have assistance from an attorney that is familiar with this realm of practice. Your attorney will ensure that the procedural requirements are satisfied and that the appeal is effectively presented.
Advisory Representation for Title IX Actions at Rice University
Have you been accused of misconduct that violates Title IX provisions? College and university administrators may impose sanctions that have significant adverse consequences. Contact the Lento Law Firm today for additional information at (888) 535-3686.