Being accused of sexual misconduct by your university Title IX coordinator can be a very jarring experience. You may not know what to expect next. How will these accusations or punishments affect your future? What disciplinary actions will the university take? So many questions will run through your mind, and Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help assuage that fear. He has worked with hundreds of college students across the country facing Title IX allegations. Attorney Lento's experience can help mitigate any negative consequences that might occur by creating a defense that will ensure the best possible outcome for your case. You don't have to go through this trying time alone. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.
Title IX and Utah Valley University
First, Title IX is a federal regulation that establishes a specific standard that all federally funded colleges and universities must maintain when overseeing 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
Utah Valley University is committed to effectively responding to complaints of discrimination in a prompt and confidential manner. This commitment includes maintaining a campus free of gender discrimination, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. They define sexual harassment as the prohibited conduct described above.
Utah Valley University's Sexual Misconduct Disciplinary Actions
At UVU, any individual concerned with Title IX or sexual misconduct may file a complaint by contacting the Equal Opportunity Office or reach out to the Title IX coordinator. Once they receive the report, they will determine if the accused student should be removed from campus for all or part of the proceedings to follow. This determination is based on whether there is an immediate risk to the complainant or victim because of these allegations.
The Title IX Coordinator will notify you of the complaint and begin a formal investigation into the matter and lay out a time and date for the hearing to begin. During the hearing, both you and the complainant will be allowed to enter evidence and witnesses for the Title IX coordinator and the hearing attendees to review, question, and cross-examine. According to the UVU policies and procedures, both you and the complainant are allowed to have an advisor present at the meetings to help you navigate the process. Having an attorney advisor present is invaluable as they can help steer your questioning.
When the hearing has finished, and the Title IX coordinator has made their final adjudication on the matter, they have ten days to file their final investigative report. Within those ten days, they must determine appropriate sanctions and remedies for you and the complainant. These sanctions will vary from full expulsion or suspension to limited campus access and moving dormitories.
Schools often provide a blanket statement regarding the range of sanctions that can be imposed, and this can give a false sense of what is at stake for a respondent in Title IX proceedings. Do not be misguided, however. If found responsible, suspension will be imposed at an absolute minimum in most instances, and expulsions are also liberally imposed. If found responsible, you have up to ten days after being notified of their decision to draft and submit a written appeal.
The appeals officer will consider the notice and decide if there was either a procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the hearing, there is new evidence that wasn't reasonably available during the hearing, or the Title IX coordinator, investigators, or hearing panelists had a conflict of interest that affected the outcome of the hearing. If so, they will allow an appeal to occur, and you will be notified within five days.
Non-Title IX Sexual Discrimination Allegations
If, for some reason, you are alleged to have committed sexual harassment, sexual assault, or sexual violence, and it does not fall within Title IX, the process is much the same. The University will notify you of such allegations and will conduct an investigation to determine if the complaint has any credence. If they do find that the complaint is valid, they will invite you to participate in a formal hearing. You will have the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses relevant to the incident. And you also have the right to have an attorney-advisor to help you navigate these proceedings.
Consequences for Sexual Misconduct Allegations and Sanctions
Sexual misconduct accusations can mar your reputation on campus socially and academically, putting you at risk of being punished in the future because of bias. Further, if you are adjudicated to have violated Title IX, you will face the ramifications of the sanctions you receive. Limiting your access to campus to help the victim avoid encountering you could mean changing your entire class schedule, limiting the classes you are able to take and the time periods that were convenient for you. Additionally, you may lose any scholarships, especially federal ones, that you were awarded prior to these accusations, forcing you to take out loans with hefty interest rates and impacting your quality of life after graduation. And if you are expelled or suspended, those sanctions will be displayed on your permanent record and transcripts.
Mitigating these consequences is of the utmost importance as any of them will follow you for the foreseeable future. For instance, if you are expelled, or even suspended, and hope to go to another college to finish your degree, you will have to explain your sanction before being offered admission, and this will make admission incredibly harder to acquire, if not impossible, even if you were an exemplary student despite these concerns. Even if you can earn your degree, future academic and professional opportunities, including graduate school, can be altogether lost because of a finding of responsibility for sexual misconduct.
How an Attorney Advisor Can Help
Attorney advisors provide their clients with the sage wisdom of an advisor and the experience and strategic thinking of an attorney. This balance allows them to cull through facts and evidence related to the event that provoked the complaint and create a defense that will help bring about the best possible outcome for you and your future. If you have been accused of sexual misconduct and are facing an investigation or hearing, or are hoping to file an appeal, contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento today. Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped hundreds of students mitigate these consequences by ensuring the universities uphold their right to a fair proceeding. You do not want to fall through the cracks. Make sure you are taking every action and precaution you can to prevent the unthinkable by having Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm in your corner. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation. We are here to help.