If you are accused of sexual misconduct by your college, it can be a surreal experience, and you may not know what to expect. Will you be expelled outright? Will there be a hearing? How will the hearing proceed? And what are the long-term consequences of having a sexual misconduct allegation, or worse yet, an adjudication on your permanent record and transcripts? Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help alleviate these fears. He is a highly-experienced Title IX attorney-advisor who has worked with hundreds of college students across the country facing sexual misconduct cases. Attorney Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm can help avoid any harmful consequences that might occur by constructing a defense that will ensure the best possible outcome. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.
Title IX and Broward College
Title IX is a federal regulation that creates a particular requirement that all federally funded colleges and universities must preserve 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
Broward College is committed to creating a safe academic atmosphere for its students, staff, and faculty and defines sexual misconduct as any kind of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual harassment, or retaliation for reporting such offenses – like the federal statement above.
Broward College's Sexual Misconduct Disciplinary Actions
According to Broward College’s policies and procedures, any person can report sexual harassment or misconduct, whether they are the victim or not. This complaint is delivered to the Title IX coordinator, who will notify you of the complaint and investigation and then review the complaint and any relevant evidence. Broward College will try to resolve the issue without having a hearing, but if you are unwilling to resolve it this way, a hearing will be scheduled. During this time, Broward College has the right to remove you from an activity or education program on campus if they believe you post a safety risk to other students or staff, including the complainant.
The Student Conduct Specialist will investigate the complaint by reaching out to any relevant witnesses and gathering any evidence they deem fit. But they are not allowed to access or disclose any medical records unless you give them permission. During the hearing process, you and the complainant will have equal opportunity to present witnesses and evidence, and you have the right to be accompanied by an advisor of your choice.
Appealing Sexual Misconduct Disciplinary Actions
After this hearing, a written determination will be provided, but you have five days to file an appeal. Appeals can only be made because of:
- A procedural irregularity affected the outcome of the matter;
- There is new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the determination that would affect the outcome of the matter; or
- There was a conflict of interest or bias by the Title IX coordinator or their investigator against the complainant or yourself.
Your appeal must be in writing and submitted to the College Ombudsperson or Vice Provost for Student Services, whoever the determination letter stipulated. After this is filed, a notice regarding the appeal will be given to both parties involved. When this occurs, either party has the right to submit a written statement in support, or in the challenge, of the outcome of the determination that is in relation to the appeal.
Once that appeal is received, the decision-maker (which the school ensures is a different person from the original decision-maker) issues a written decision. This decision is final and cannot be appealed further.
Consequences for Sexual Misconduct Allegations and Sanctions
Once the school has made the final determination, your punishment may range from withholding of your diploma or transcripts, imposing probation, to suspension or full expulsion from the college. The truth is, sexual misconduct allegations can tarnish your reputation on campus, socially and academically, even before a determination is made regarding responsibility. Teachers may develop a bias towards you, and students may not want to include you in their study groups or intermural sports.
Further, if Broward College finds that you have committed sexual misconduct and the appeals process does not go your way, the ramifications could be quite costly. The ramifications of merely being accused is a small reflection of what is at stake. For instance, if interim restrictions are placed upon a respondent by the Title IX coordinator, and if your schedule is changed to keep you off-campus when the victim or complainant is there, you may be forced to take courses that are not at your preferred times or switch your major altogether. It may take you longer to graduate if none of the new class times work for you, and you must change how many you can take a semester, which might, in turn, affect your financial aid status, forcing you to take out loans with higher interest rates. And if you found responsible and are expelled or suspended, those sanctions end up on your permanent record and transcripts, forcing you to rehash them at every college or graduate interview and application process you have for the foreseeable future.
The unfortunate reality for Broward students found responsible for Title IX charges is that the consequences can literally affect them for the rest of their lives. Broward, as with almost all schools, will use the sanction of suspension as a starting point, with more serious offenses resulting in expulsion. Either consequence can be incredibly difficult to overcome. Put simply, too much is at stake is not have the necessary help in fighting sexual misconduct allegations at Broward College.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Attorney advisors are the best of both worlds when it comes to sexual misconduct allegations. They provide the sage wisdom of an advisor and the strategic thinking and experience of an attorney, allowing them to cull through facts and evidence and create a defense that will earn the greatest possible result. If you have been accused of sexual misconduct, need professional help during an investigation or hearing, or are hoping to file an appeal, contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today. You want to make sure you are taking every action you can to prevent the negative consequences described above. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation or reach the Lento Law Firm online. Don't fall through the cracks; let Attorney Lento and his team help you today.