Salisbury University, located in Maryland, is a four-year higher education institution that offers a wide range of graduate and undergraduate programs. As with most federally funded schools, Salisbury has implemented federal laws for its students to abide by. Title IX policies strictly prohibit discriminatory acts on the basis of gender, this includes sexual misconduct. In compliance with Title IX, this institution is required to investigate and resolve cases of this nature.
If you are a student on the Salisbury University campus and been accused of sexual misconduct, it is important you understand what you're up against. Being found responsible for a violation so damaging and severe can jeopardize the educational and professional goals you've set for yourself.
Going through the motions in the midst of your school's Title IX processes is the worst thing you can do when facing sexual misconduct allegations. Recognizing the importance of the role of an attorney as your advisor, and coherently understanding the process will help level the playing field for you, as an accused student. For the purposes of this article, we will provide a brief overview of Salisbury University's Title IX process.
Title IX Process
This institution intends to resolve each complaint of sexual misconduct within 60 calendar days from the date a report is made to the school.
The initial assessment
An initial assessment is a meeting between a Title IX coordinator and a complainant that serves two purposes: providing an alleged victim with information and allowing a coordinator to get a basic understanding of a case. A coordinator will likely assess factors that will determine whether or not the process should proceed or if no action should be taken. Also, during this assessment, a complainant will be informed of policies and procedures, alternative resolution options, resources and imposition of interim measures.
Once the school's Title IX coordinator receives word of the alleged misconduct, it is his or her duty to protect the complainant and the rest of the campus community from retaliation - another serious violation under school policy. In order to deter the creation of a hostile environment, the following interim measures may be imposed, depending on the circumstances of a case:
- The implementation of a no contact order (barring verbal, electronic, written and third party communication between parties)
- Restrictive access to certain areas of the university
- Housing and residency reassignments
- Changes in work schedule or job assignments
- Allowing a student to take an incomplete or withdraw from a class without a penalty etc.
A complainant can choose to resolve their complaint either informally or formally. It's important to note that cases involving sexual assault will always be handled formally.
- Informal process: during this process, the complainant and respondent must agree on the repercussions that will be imposed. This agreement is facilitated by the Title IX coordinator. If both parties do not come to an agreement, they can decide to either cease any action regarding the complaint or initiate the formal complaint process.
- Formal process: A complainant who wishes to initiate the formal process against a respondent is basically requesting a formal investigation and adjudication. Each party will be thoroughly interviewed, and investigators will comprise a finding (based on the preponderance of evidence) that determines a respondent's apparent innocence or guilty on the matter.
If a respondent thinks that a determination and/or sanction is unfair or unjustified, he or she is allowed to appeal this decision. An appeal is essentially a request for a school to reconsider its decision. However, in order for an appeal to be considered by a school, it must be based on the basis of reasonable grounds, rather than mere dissatisfaction. The sole grounds of an appeal include, but are not limited to:
- New information: New information has surfaced which was not available or known to a respondent during an investigation
- Disproportionate sanctions: The sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation
- Procedural error: a procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of a final determination and/or sanction
A student must submit a written appeal within five University working days of the notification of the final decision.
Title IX Advisor
Choosing an attorney to occupy the role of an advisor is the only way to truly ensure your rights are protected during your school's Title IX Process. Level the playing field by allowing skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento to help you. Contact him today.
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 to students facing disciplinary cases in Maryland and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help.