Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for students, faculty, staff, and visitors and does not tolerate sexual misconduct. As sexual harassment goes against the university's core value or respect for one another, BGSU is prepared to handle incidents of suspected sexual misconduct and will not hesitate to initiate disciplinary action against students found responsible for sexual harassment.
If you are accused of sexual misconduct at BGSU, the potential repercussions could be severe, possibly preventing you from finishing your college degree or seeking gainful employment in the future. There is too much at stake to take the matter lightly or to attempt to handle an accusation on your own.
At Lento Law Firm, we help students dealing with sexual misconduct allegations stand up for their rights with their universities. We've put together this resource about Title IX and sexual harassment at BGSU to help you better understand your situation.
Sexual Misconduct and Title IX at BGSU
BGSU has four policies relevant to Title IX and sexual misconduct:
- Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy: This policy lists prohibited behavior and provides details of the procedures for handling complaints of violations of Title IX.
- BGSU Code of Student Conduct: The Code of Student Conduct defines consent, which is required for sexual, physical contact not to be considered sexual misconduct. It also prohibits violent physical contact, whether of a sexual nature or not.
- Sexual Harassment Policy: This policy defines sexual harassment and the reporting responsibilities of all members of the university community.
- Consensual Amorous Relationship Policy: This policy defines consensual amorous relationships and the circumstances under which these relationships are impermissible at BGSU.
Examples of Prohibited Behaviors at BGSU
The Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy at BGSU prohibits the following conduct:
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual assault (including rape, fondling, incest, and statutory rape)
- Dating violence
- Domestic violence
- Violation of mutual restrictions on contact between parties
The BGSU Title IX Complaint Process
The Title IX procedures at BGSU take place in four main stages: Intake and formal complaint, investigation, hearing, and appeals.
Intake Process and Formal Complaint
When the BGSU Title IX Coordinator learns of a report of a potential policy violation, they will reach out to the complainant (the person who would accuse another of sexual misconduct) to see if they want to file a formal complaint. Title IX procedures cannot start until the complainant files a formal complaint, and only the complainant may do so. In some cases, the Title IX Coordinator may file a complaint on their behalf if they believe the situation merits it.
After receiving the formal complaint, the university may resolve the matter using the formal resolution process (described below) or an informal resolution process. The informal resolution uses mediated or restorative methods between the complainant and the respondent (the accused person) to resolve the matter without an investigation or hearing.
If at least one of the parties wants a formal resolution process, the case moves into the investigation phase. Both the complainant and respondent may meet with the investigator to present witnesses and evidence. The investigator may also gather their own information. Once the investigation is over, the investigator creates a report based on their findings, which both parties may review before it's finalized. After the report is finalized, a hearing is scheduled.
At the hearing and throughout the formal resolution process, both complainants and respondents may have advisors of their choosing present with them. Hearings may take place before a single decision-maker or three-member board; both parties must agree on which they prefer. Both parties may refer to relevant evidence and question witnesses during the hearing.
At the end of the hearing, the single decision-maker or board decides if the respondent is responsible for violating the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and deliberates on a sanction if they are. The Office of the Dean of Students must approve the decision and sanction before they take effect.
Either party may appeal a decision from a hearing. They must send a written appeal to the Office of the Dean of Students within five business days of the date they receive the hearing determination. An appellate officer will review the appeal and supporting documents and decide to do one of the following:
- Affirm the decision
- Reject the decision and send the matter back to the single decision-maker or hearing board
- Modify the sanction
The appellate officer's decision on the matter is final.
Potential Sanctions for Students Found Responsible for Sexual Misconduct
Students found in violation of the BGSU Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy may face one or more of the following sanctions:
- Disciplinary probation
- No contact directive
- Removal, suspension, or transfer from courses or university activities
- Reasonable restitution
- Educational program attendance
- Educational project
- Employment restriction
- Transcript hold
- Transcript notation or notice to other institutions
- University housing change
- Withholding or revoking a degree
How Can a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Help?
If you are facing a sexual harassment accusation at BGSU, you might think you can handle it yourself. Your university will take the matter seriously, however, and if you don't fully understand the procedures, you may not know how best to defend yourself. With an experienced advisor by your side, you can ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney-advisor who has helped students with sexual misconduct cases before will know what to expect from the process and how to handle university administrators. They can coach you on how to behave and respond to questions at meetings and hearings and ultimately work for the best possible outcome for your situation.
Joseph D. Lento has helped university students nationwide with Title IX and sexual misconduct cases. If you don't want to risk losing your chance to pursue your college degree, contact Lento Law Firm by calling 888-535-3686.