Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that prohibits sexual misconduct in federally funded colleges and universities. Being accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, or any other form of sexual misconduct at Sarah Lawrence College is a Title IX violation that your school must resolve. If you are found “responsible” for this conduct, you could be exposed to pretty serious repercussions that could jeopardize your plans to graduate.
For the purposes of this article, we'll address Sarah Lawrence College's disciplinary process and why you need an attorney-advisor if you find yourself in this predicament.
Sarah Lawrence College's Disciplinary Process
According to Title IX, Sarah Lawrence College is required to adjudicate any cases of sexual misconduct brought to the institution's attention. The Department of Education urges compliant institutions to respond to these accusations in a manner that is prompt and equitable. If the school fails to do so, its federal funding is at stake. Complainants (the reporter of the complaint) and especially respondents (the person accused of sexual misconduct) should understand that their school will approach their case with the utmost seriousness, and each party should follow suit.
Reporting an Incident
If a person has experienced sexual violence and decides to tell any Sarah Lawrence staff or faculty member, those college faculty and staff members are required to inform the Title IX Coordinator, which will constitute a report under this policy.
Assessment of Intake
After receiving a complaint alleging sexual misconduct, the Title IX coordinator will conduct an initial assessment to evaluate whether it is appropriate to proceed with the College's conduct process.
The investigation process will typically include interviews with the complainant and respondent separately and any identified witnesses. The investigator will also gather any available physical evidence, including, but not limited to, documents, communications between the parties, and other electronic records. The investigator will conduct the investigation in a manner appropriate to the circumstances of the case with sensitivity and respect, mindful of individual privacy concerns. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare a written report that summarizes the information gathered, the areas of agreement and disagreement between the parties, and any supporting information.
Within five days of receiving the final investigatory report, the hearing coordinator will conduct a hearing. This hearing will the order of business listed below:
- The hearing coordinator makes introductions of the hearing panel members, the parties and their advisors
- The hearing coordinator explains the hearing process and answers any questions related to the process
- The reporting individual may, but is not obliged to, make an opening statement in addition to their written statement
- The responding individual may, but is not obliged to, make an opening statement in addition to their written statement
- The reporting individual answers questions from the hearing panel, and those posed to the hearing coordinator by the responding individual
- The responding individual answers questions from the heating panel, and those posed to the hearing coordinator by the reporting individual
- The witness answer questions from the hearing panel and those posed to the hearing coordinator by the reporting individual and responding individual
- The hearing panel may pose further questions to the reporting individual and the responding individual
- The reporting individual may, but is not obliged to, make a final statement
- The responding individual may, but is not obliged to, make a final statement
- The hearing coordinator dismisses all participants
Upon completion of the hearing, the hearing panel will deliberate in private, and outside the presence of the hearing coordinator, to determine if the responding individual was responsible for the violations alleged in each charge.
Both reporting individual and responding individual may appeal the hearing panel's decision. An appeal may be approved on one or more of the following grounds only:
- A material procedural error made that was significantly prejudicial to the outcome of the hearing as it affects the student appealing
- Previously unavailable relevant evidence, which was not available or known to the student appealing at the time of the hearing, has arisen, which when considered may materially alter the outcome. Information that the appealing student chose not to pursue or present at the time of the hearing is not considered new information
- The sanction was substantially disproportionate to the violation in excessiveness or insufficiency
An appeal must be submitted to the hearing coordinator within five days of the receipt of the hearing panel's decision letter.
New York Title IX Attorney
If you've been accused of sexual misconduct at Sarah Lawrence College, you can anyone to be your advisor in the Title IX process. It would be in your best interest to choose an attorney who can help you effectively navigate the process and build a solid defense for you. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today for help at 888-535-3686.