When you first learned that Washington State University was going to be investigating you for sexual misconduct, you might not have believed it. You might have frozen at the sight of the sternly worded notice your school sent you. You might have immediately started fearing for your future—or, perhaps, you might have been so instantly overwhelmed that you didn't know what to be afraid of.
There are two things you need to know upfront: Yes, you do need to take this seriously, but no—you aren't doomed. You can work through this. At the Lento Law Firm, we're here to make sure that you're able to protect your reputation and your future.
What Is Title IX? What Is WSU's Sexual Misconduct Policy?
Title IX, as part of the Educational Amendments of 1972, is a federal law that guides public and private schools in the United States as they investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.
According to WSU's Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct, and Sexual Harassment policy, the following behaviors are punishable:
- Sexual assault
- Implied or direct threats of sexual violence
- Unwelcome sexual behavior, including explicit comments, unnecessary physical contact, and uninvited comments about appearance
- Display of explicit pictures
- Unwanted and persistent attempts to move a professional relationship to a sexual one
- Explicit cyber harassment
- Dating or domestic violence
What's at Stake in My Sexual Misconduct Case?
You might wonder if worrying about your sexual misconduct case is truly worth it. After all, it might blow over.
It won't. In cases of sexual misconduct, the typical university response is expulsion, which can throw a wrench in your entire future—particularly as Washington State University will make a notation of your alleged behavior in your transcript. If this information makes it to your transcript, every future school you apply to and every employer you reach out to will learn about your allegations. This will inform their decision to offer you employment or not.
You have to make sure that this does not happen to you. In WSU's due process, any student who has violated a university policy will be subject to the community standards process. This process will include the following steps:
- WSU will review the incident report and allegation, then decide to investigate further into what happened.
- WSU will inform you that you have the right to have an advisor present at your hearing. The school may offer you legal support. You should turn this offer down; you'll need more targeted experience than what your school's advisors will offer.
- At your hearing, you will have the opportunity to review all of the collected information relating to your alleged involvement in the incident. You will also have the chance to tell your side of the story.
- At the end of the hearing, WSU's representatives will make a decision regarding what happened. They will also issue a recommendation for punitive measures.
According to the school's policies, potential repercussions could include anything from mandatory counseling to probation. However, the most likely result of a sexual misconduct incident is expulsion.
Can I Appeal WSU's Disciplinary Decision?
If Washington State University recommends sanctions that are disproportionate for your alleged actions or fails to respect your rights during the adjudicative process, you may be able to file an appeal.
You will receive written confirmation of the decisions that WSU has made within 10 calendar days after your hearing. Once you receive this notice, you can appeal within 21 calendar days. WSU will ask you to provide as much information as possible as the basis for this request. You have the ability to ask WSU to reconsider your disciplinary action entirely or ask the university to delay the onset of your sanctions.
Upon receipt of your filed appeal, the WSU Appeals Board will review your appeals material as well as all other information that the university has on you. The Appeals Board will issue a further decision within twenty calendar days. This decision is final.
What can an Experienced Student Defense Lawyer Do for Me?
You might be tempted to forego working with an attorney as you manage your case. This is not a good idea. Remember that your future is at stake with your upcoming sexual misconduct hearing; it's definitely a time to reach out to a professional.
By drawing on targeted experience, your sexual misconduct attorney will be able to:
- Help you stay on top of deadlines
- Help you manage your reputation
- Help you manage your relationship with your school
- Help keep your school accountable to its own rules
- Help make sure your school takes you seriously
- Help you form the basis for an appeal
- Help you stress less during a difficult time
Rely on Joseph D. Lento to Help You with your Washington State University Title IX Case
When your university has accused you of sexual misconduct, it's easy to wonder if there's any good way out of your situation. After all, it may feel like you're completely alone in this. You can't trust anyone at your school. Wash U's code of conduct is overwhelming and confusing. And the notices your school keeps sending you seem increasingly ominous.
It's true: There's a lot that you need to keep track of. You're going to need to present a persuasive, cohesive argument to demonstrate your innocence and work towards success.
That's precisely where the Lento Law Firm comes in. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is ready to put his experience and expertise to work for you. For years, he has helped students in your shoes protect their reputations and their futures. Whether you need help with your school's investigative or adjudicative process, he can do the same for you.
Contact Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or use our online form to reach out today.