Being accused of sexual misconduct or violating Title IX at California State University - Sacramento can feel extremely jarring. You've worked your entire life to get into college, you never expect those dreams to be ripped away from you. But for many students accused of these violations, the consequences can have long-lasting effects. Suddenly, graduating isn't the only focus – getting to stay in school is. If you or someone you love has been accused of violating Title IX or another act of sexual misconduct, contact Attorney Advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today. Attorney Lento has years of experience helping hundreds of students across the country navigate these accusations. Your university owes you a specific level of due process; Attorney Lento will ensure they uphold that right. Call today.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal regulation that creates a specific standard that all federally funded colleges and universities must uphold when managing sexual discrimination and sexual violence on their campus. These standards include:
- Clear and immediate procedures for sexual misconduct allegations
- Designated personnel to handle instances of sexual violence
- In Title IX hearings, the standard of evidence should be “more likely than not” or “preponderance of evidence”
- Both parties involved should have access to the same procedures – advisors, appeals, and presentation of the evidence
- Retaliation protection
California State University – Sacramento campus forbids discrimination and sexual misconduct, which they define as sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, or stalking, with the goal being to not only ensure a safe setting for their community, but to uphold the faculty, staff, and students civil and constitutional rights.
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at California State University – Sacramento?
Anyone on campus is urged to report sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation. Once a complaint is filed, the Title IX Coordinator meets with the complainant and informs them of supportive measures CSU has in place to protect victims and complainants. At that point, the complainant will choose to file a formal complaint. If they do not, but the Title IX Coordinator believes that it is likely the incident in question did, in fact, include sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation, they will file the formal complaint themselves and send notice to the accused student. The accused student and complainant are also made aware that there are early (informal) resolution options available up until the hearing decision is made.
Once the formal complaint is filed, the investigation may begin. During the investigation, the Investigator will begin collecting documentary evidence and meet with the complainant, accused student, and any relevant witnesses. Both parties have the right to review the evidence and question the witnesses as well. When the investigation is complete, the Investigator will draft and send their report to both parties and the Hearing Officer who oversees the hearing.
At the hearing, both the complainant and the accused student have the right to request the Hearing Officer ask certain questions to one another and any witnesses presented. If a Title IX violation, or another form of sexual misconduct that falls outside the scope of Title IX, is found, the Hearing Officer will recommend appropriate sanctions. Sanctions can include anything from losing financial aid or scholarships, probation, removal from campus housing or access to parts of campus, to suspension or expulsion.
Informal Resolution Process at CSU
At CSU, students have the choice to opt in to an informal resolution process rather than undergo a formal hearing process, and in some circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator may actually suggest it. But just because it is called an “informal” process does not mean it is not a binding procedure.
Informal resolution processes at CSU are subject to the following stipulations:
- The parties have to agree to engage in it
- Any agreed-upon remedies and sanctions have the same force as if the Hearing Officer decreed them during the formal process
- The terms of the resolution are written and signed by both parties and the Title IX Coordinator
- The resolution is final and not appealable
If you are unsure which process to follow, hiring an attorney advisor will ensure you choose the resolution process that meets your particular needs and the specifics of your case.
Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation Decision
Both parties have ten days from the date of the Decision Letter to appeal the Hearing Officer's decision. The appeal must be in writing and based on at least one of the following grounds:
- The hearing outcome isn't supported by substantial evidence
- There were prejudicial errors that impacted the hearing outcome to such a degree
- New evidence is present that was not reasonably available during the hearing and would have affected the Hearing Officer's decision
- The sanction(s) imposed do not match the severity of the conduct
How an Attorney Advisor Can Help
Title IX violation, or another act of sexual misconduct, allegations can have prolonged consequences. For instance, even before possibly being found responsible, Cal State - Sacramento, as with most universities, will remove you from anywhere the victim or complainant are also present, potentially making independence on campus next to impossible. You may have to change friendship circles, study groups, or even dorms. Also, if you are found responsible and suspended or expelled, those sanctions will be noted on your transcripts, forcing you to explain the issue on every graduate application in the future. And if you are found not responsible, the harm to your reputation has already been done. Teachers and students you have yet to meet may have made their minds up about who you are as a person.
This is why working with an attorney advisor from the moment you learn of these accusations is so important. Attorney Joseph D. Lento will create a defense that will help avoid or lessen even the most severe of consequences. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation. You don't have to navigate this alone. The Lento Law Firm can help.