Finding out you're suspected of sexual misconduct or of having violated the federal Title IX regulation can feel very disturbing. Getting into college is no easy feat. You have dreams you are pursuing, and these allegations have the potential to derail those dreams. If you have been accused, or you are a parent of a student accused, it is important to remember that your school's priority is to protect their own reputation, leaving your due process rights susceptible to neglect.
California State University – Los Angeles encourages their students to work with advisors who will be better able to advocate on their behalf. These advisors include skilled attorneys like Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm. Attorney Lento has worked with hundreds of students across the country who have found themselves in the same predicament you have found yourself. Stop wondering who you can trust or what to do next. Call the Lento Law Firm today.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal regulation that creates a specific standard that all federally funded colleges and universities must uphold 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
California State University – Los Angeles campus prohibits discrimination and sexual misconduct, which they define as sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, or stalking, with the goal being to not only ensure a safe setting for their community, but to uphold the faculty, staff, and students civil and constitutional rights.
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at California State University – Los Angeles Campus?
At CSU, once a complaint is received, the Title IX Coordinator will review it and interview the complainant. During this interview, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether a formal complaint is necessary. If the complainant decides not to file one, but the Title IX Coordinator believes it should be made, they may file one without the complainant. This does not make the Title IX Coordinator a party to the matter.
There are only certain instances when a Title IX formal complaint can be dismissed:
- If the alleged conduct does not constitute sexual harassment as defined by CSU
- The conduct didn't occur in an educational program or activity
- The conduct 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
If a formal complaint is made, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint an investigator to interview both parties and any relevant witnesses and collect documentary evidence that is available at that time. At the conclusion of the investigation, they will draft a report and deliver it to both the complainant and the accused student for review.
Both the investigative report and your response will be delivered to the Hearing Officer overseeing the hearing. During the hearing, both you and the complainant will be allowed to present your cases, including questioning witnesses, cross-examining each other's witnesses, and presenting evidence to explain your side of the issue. If a Title IX violation, or another form of sexual misconduct that falls outside the scope of Title IX, is found, the Hearing Officer will recommend appropriate sanctions. 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.
Informal Resolution Process at CSU
At CSU, students can choose to participate in an informal resolution process rather than undergo a formal hearing process. Informal resolution processes at CSU are subject to the following conditions:
- The parties have to agree to engage in it
- Any agreed-upon remedies and sanctions have the same force as if the Hearing Officer decreed them during the formal process
- The terms of the resolution are written and signed by both parties and the Title IX Coordinator
- The resolution is final and not appealable
If you are unsure which process is right for you, working with an attorney advisor is extremely important. Attorney advisors will not only advocate on your behalf during the hearing but also will ensure you choose the resolution process that meets your particular needs.
Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation Decision
If you are found responsible, you must appeal the decision, in writing, within seven calendar days. Appeals can only be made on the following grounds and are final (i.e., they cannot be appealed further):
- There was a procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the case
- There is new evidence that wasn't reasonably available at the time of the hearing that could affect the outcome of the case
- The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, or Decision Makers had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome of the case
How Lento Law Firm Can Help
Regrettably, Title IX violations or acts of sexual misconduct allegations can have sustained consequences. For instance, if you are found responsible, most universities will remove you from places where the victim is also present. You may be forced to change study groups, resign from Greek life, or even move dormitories. Also, 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, and likely closing doors both academically and professionally.
But don't panic, there are a number of things you can do to lessen these negative consequences, starting with contacting our offices. Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm have an unparalleled understanding of sexual misconduct and Title IX violation allegations. They will ensure your future is protected from unwarranted bias and extensive consequences. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.