Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Defense – Idaho State University

To maintain a campus culture of respect and decency, colleges and universities establish policies managing contact between students and other members of the community. Students must understand how their actions and decisions affect their academic peers and how institutions like Idaho State University sanctions misconduct.

Part of the university's mandate is to identify and punish acts of sexual misconduct and Title IX violations. These incidents often garner widespread attention due to their nature and the consequences accused students face. Federal Title IX regulations compel institutions of higher education to act stridently in correcting these abuses, often with fast-paced grievance processes, as they jeopardize a school's federal funding. Yet, colleges and universities sometimes overreach beyond their authority and err in their assessment of the facts, leading to the unplanned end of a student's academic career.

It is crucial to understand how you or your child can defend themselves against school disciplinary boards. Although fighting back can seem daunting with your academic career on the line, you can retain skilled guidance to be with you through every step of the process.

Idaho State University Sexual Misconduct Policy

As a part of matriculation for students, Idaho State University's policy regarding sexual misconduct is laid out in detail in their Student Code of Conduct. All non-consensual sexual behavior and actions are prohibited, and what constitutes consent on campus is also defined. Per the school's guidelines, the following are considered violations:

  • Dating violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Exploitation
  • Harassment
  • Non-consensual contact
  • Retaliation
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking

Students may believe sexual misconduct is handled the same as plagiarism and other instances of academic misconduct. However, violations of a sexual or discriminatory nature fall under federal purview. Therefore, the school must follow regulatory guidelines to provide a more formal set of grievance procedures.

Title IX Responsibilities of Idaho State University

In 1972, the U.S. Congress passed Title IX civil rights legislation prohibiting sex and gender-based discrimination in any educational program or activity, public or private, that receives funding from the federal government. The law's guidelines are the basis upon which colleges and universities address instances of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct on campus.

Other misconduct that may be resolved under Title IX's processes includes:

  • Bullying
  • Discrimination
  • Failure to report Title IX violation
  • Harassment
  • Hazing
  • Intimidation
  • Promoting a hostile environment
  • Quid Pro Quo
  • Retaliation

Idaho State University considers all part-time and full-time faculty and staff, including student workers and "responsible employees." Consequently, if a university employee witnesses sexual misconduct, they must report it to the school's Title IX Coordinator or risk punitive measures themselves.

Title IX Investigative, Hearing, and Appeals Processes

Once Idaho State University's Title IX Coordinator is aware of sexual misconduct or other Title IX infractions, the school will have "actual knowledge" of the event, thus starting the Title IX grievance process. Since Title IX is federally supervised, most colleges and universities proceed similarly.

Idaho State University conducts its investigation phase as follows:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator will conduct their Initial Assessment by contacting the accuser (complainant) to discuss the allegations, offer supportive resources, and determine if they wish to move forward with an informal process (Process A) or a formal hearing (Process B).
  2. If Process A is chosen, both parties may enter into a voluntary, negotiated resolution overseen by the Title IX Coordinator, wherein the accused student (respondent) accepts responsibility. All informal resolutions are non-appealable.
  3. If Process B is chosen, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the respondent through a written notice of investigation and allegations (NOIA). It includes information on hearing standards, time and place, and an appraisal of their rights, including to be presumed "not responsible" and to choose an advisor to assist them.
  4. An Investigator will be appointed to gather evidence and interview the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses, if applicable.
  5. The Investigator will report the findings to the Title IX Coordinator and both parties, who will have ten business days to respond.
  6. If the Title IX Coordinator determines the allegation warrants a hearing, they will notify all parties involved for the hearing to begin no sooner than ten days following the submission of the investigation report.
  7. The parties will be given the identity of the hearing's Decision-maker at least five business days before the hearing, and objections may be heard within the first 48 hours.

It's imperative that you retain professional assistance during your hearing phase. A student defense advisor will ensure the hearing officials acknowledge your rights, and you have an opportunity to provide a cogent, coherent argument to bolster your defense.

The hearing phase will move forward as follows:

  1. The Chairperson or Hearing Facilitator will introduce the hearing and discuss evidence gathered by the Investigator or anything else they determine is relevant and credible.
  2. The complainant and respondent will make an opening statement to the disciplinary body.
  3. Each party or their advisor will cross-examine the other party and witnesses.
  4. Members of the body may question the parties and their witnesses.
  5. The complainant and respondent will make any rebuttals or closing remarks.
  6. The Decision-maker will base their determination of responsibility on a standard of "more likely than not."

Each party will receive a Notice of Outcome, including hearing conclusions, supporting statements, and sanctions, within three business days of the hearing's conclusion. Each party must file a written notice of appeal to the Title IX Coordinator within seven business days of the Notice of Outcome and may be considered only for the following reasons:

  • Procedural irregularities affected the outcome of the hearing
  • New evidence emerged unavailable at the time of the hearing
  • Members of the body had bias or conflict of interest against either party

Idaho State University's Appeal Panel will hear the matter and decide within three business days. Once sanctions are affirmed, amended, or dismissed, there will be no additional appeals.

Sanctions for Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Violations

Sanctions often require a temporary separation from studies, but students found responsible for sexual misconduct or Title IX violations are commonly expelled from the school.

Idaho State University may impose the following sanctions:

  • Formal reprimand
  • Loss of college privileges
  • No-contact order
  • Restitution
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal

Punishments like these will derail a student's academic career and, indeed, their start to a career. It's essential that you begin to fight back early in the process.

How Joseph D. Lento Can Defend You in Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Matters

You need professional assistance if you are alleged to have committed a Title IX violation or engaged in sexual misconduct at Idaho State University. Student defense advisor Joseph D. Lento and his team at the Lento Law Firm have handled college disciplinary matters involving such violations in hundreds of schools across the U.S.

While you may believe a local attorney is your best option, courtroom competency doesn't often translate into the finesse needed to negotiate with school administration and Title IX officials. Joseph D. Lento and his team know how to help college and university officials see positive options serving the student and the school far better than suspension or expulsion and can broker beneficial resolutions on behalf of student clients with a school's internal Office of General Counsel (OGC). For expert advice, call 888-535-3686 to discuss how your defense can begin or use the online consultation form.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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