If you or someone you love has found out they are suspected of sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation, it can be incredibly nerve-wracking. Who can you trust? Where do you turn for help? You have worked so hard to get into college. You have dreams and desires for your time there. You never expect those visions to be derailed by an allegation like these. California State University – Dominguez Hills encourages its students to work with attorney advisors from the moment they learn of the accusations. Joseph Lento and the Lento Law Firm team have years of experience gathering evidence, searching and questioning witnesses, and crafting a strategic defense that is sure to guarantee you the best possible outcome for your case. Call the office today.
What Is Title IX?
In the United States, there is a federal regulation called Title IX that creates a specific standard that all federally funded colleges and universities must follow when managing sexual discrimination and sexual violence on their campus. These standards include:
- Quick and specific procedures for sexual misconduct allegations
- Assigned personnel to handle cases of sexual violence
- In Title IX hearings, the standard of evidence should be “more likely than not” or “preponderance of evidence”
- Both parties have access to the same procedures – advisors, appeals, and presentation of the evidence
- Both parties are protected from retaliation
California State University – Dominguez Hills is committed to creating an educational environment free of discrimination and sexual misconduct, sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at California State University – Dominguez Hills?
When a complaint is received at California State University – Dominguez Hills, the Title IX Coordinator will reach out to the complainant to set up a time to interview them further. During this interview, the Title IX Coordinator will decide whether a formal complaint is necessary. If the complainant decides not to file the formal complaint, but the Title IX Coordinator believes one should be made, the Title IX Coordinator actually has the power to file one on their own. This does not make the Title IX Coordinator a party to the matter.
Sometimes, after the interview with the complainant, the Title IX Coordinator may decide to dismiss a Title IX complaint for one of the following reasons:
- If the suspected conduct does not constitute sexual harassment as specified by CSU
- The act didn't occur in an educational program or activity
- The behavior didn't occur against someone in the U.S.
- When the formal complaint was filed, the complainant wasn't enrolled (or trying to enroll) in an education program or activity
It is important to remember that the complainant has five days to challenge this dismissal. The Chancellor's office will review their challenge and decide within ten days if a formal complaint is warranted and should not have been dismissed.
When a formal complaint is made, the Title IX Coordinator will assign an investigator to interview both parties and any relevant witnesses, as well as collect documentary evidence that is available at that time. Before their investigation ends, they will share their findings with both the complainant and the accused student. You will have the opportunity to share your thoughts and arguments based on these pieces of evidence.
Once these steps are over, the matter will be referred to the hearing officer. During the hearing, both parties will have equal opportunity to make their arguments, present evidence, and question witnesses. You will also be able to cross-examine the other party's witnesses and evidence. When both parties have been heard fully, the hearing officer will excuse themselves to deliberate in private on whether the accused student did, based on a preponderance of the evidence, commit an act of sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation.
The hearing officer will also determine what sanctions to impose if any are necessary. Sanctions can include anything from losing financial aid or scholarships, probation, removal from campus housing or access to parts of campus, to suspension or expulsion.
Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation Decision at California State University – Dominguez Hills
Like at most universities, CSU Dominguez Hills allows both parties to appeal the hearing officer's decision. Appeals must be made within ten working days of receiving the decision. Additionally, appeals can only be made on the following grounds:
- A procedural irregularity affected the outcome of the matter
- There is new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the hearing that might affect the outcome of the matter
- The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, or Decision Makers had a conflict of interest or bias, for or against, the complainant or accused student that affected the outcome of the matter
There will be specific instructions in your determination letter from the hearing officer, so make sure to confirm before filing the appeal. One thing is clear, though, whatever the appeal panel's decision, it is final and cannot be appealed further.
How Lento Law Firm Can Help
Unfortunately, Title IX violations or acts of sexual misconduct allegations can have incessant consequences that go beyond your time in college. For instance, if you lose your financial aid because you are placed on probation, you might find it hard to continue matriculating at the school. Additionally, if you are removed from your on-campus housing, it will be difficult to find a place to live off-campus mid-semester, not to mention that moving out of your dorm will negatively affect your social life. And, if you are suspended or expelled, those sanctions will be noted on your transcripts, forcing you to explain the issue on every graduate application in the future. This is especially true if you are hoping to apply to law school. Law school admissions are very focused on the ethical and moral aptitudes of their prospective students.
Attorney Lento, and Lento Law Firm, have an incomparable understanding of sexual misconduct and Title IX violation accusations. They will guarantee your future is protected from unwarranted bias and extensive consequences. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.