Being accused of sexual misconduct or Title IX violations can be jarring, to say the least. You've worked so hard to get into college, you never expect to watch your dreams being ripped away. But for many students, these accusations can have lifelong consequences, and unfortunately, many universities do not uphold the accused student's rights. If you or someone you love has been accused of violating Title IX or Rowan University's sexual conduct expectations, contact Attorney-Advisor Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today.
Attorney Lento's fighting attitude and years of experience will ensure Rowan University does not let you fall through the cracks. Don't let all your hard work be in vain, call 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
Rowan University prohibits discrimination and sexual misconduct, which they define as sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, or stalking.
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at Rowan University?
Once Rowan University receives a report of an alleged incident of sexual misconduct or Title IX violation, the Title IX Coordinator will determine if the complaint falls within the scope of Title IX. If it does, the Title IX Coordinator will encourage the complainant to file a formal complaint, which will initiate a formal investigation proceeding.
During the formal investigation, the investigator will interview both the complainant and the accused student. They will also begin to collect documentary evidence and interview potential witnesses. At the end of the investigation, the investigator will prepare an investigation report that states whether they believe there is enough evidence to show that the accused student likely did commit a violation of these policies. If they do not, the formal complaint will be dismissed by the Title IX Coordinator.
If the complaint is not dismissed, the complainant and the accused student will be given the opportunity to attend an informal resolution process, but both parties must agree to it. This informal resolution process usually involves some sort of mediation or dispute resolution. Both parties must agree to the sanctions imposed. If not, the process will be moved back to the formal grievance tract.
The Office of Community Standards will schedule a hearing within 30 days of receiving the final investigation report. Both parties will have the option of having an advisor present during the hearing, but they must make a formal request for the advisor to attend at least seven days before the hearing is to take place.
At the hearing, the Hearing Panel will review the investigation report and hear both sides of the case. The complainant and accused student will each have the opportunity to present witnesses and any relevant documentary evidence, as well as cross-examine each other's witnesses.
Once the hearing concludes, the Panel will deliberate on the responsibility of the accused student and any relevant sanctions they might wish to impose. Sanctions will range from a warning to suspension or expulsion.
Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation at Rowan University
Either party has the opportunity to appeal the decision of the Hearing Panel within seven days of receiving it. This appeal must be in writing and based on one of the following grounds:
- The hearing outcome isn't supported by substantial evidence
- There were prejudicial errors that impacted the hearing outcome to such a degree
- New evidence is present that was not reasonably available during the hearing and would have affected the Hearing Officer's decision
- The sanction(s) imposed do not match the severity of the conduct
The Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students will review the appeal and determine if the case should be dismissed or affirmed, the sanction severity amended, or remanded to the Title IX Coordinator for further review. Whatever the outcome, this decision is final and cannot be appealed further.
How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Allegations of Title IX violations, or other prohibited acts of sexual conduct, can have sustained consequences. For example, if you are found not responsible, the harm to your reputation has already been done. Teachers and students you have yet to meet may have already made their minds up about who you are as a person. This kind of reputational harm can be really hard to recover from and must be addressed head on with professional help.
Further, if you are found responsible, Rowan University will remove you from places where the victim or complainant is also present, making independence on campus difficult. You may have to change study groups, Greek affiliations, friendship groups, or even your place of residence. 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 or employment application in the future.
This is why working with an attorney advisor from the moment you learn of these accusations is key. Attorney Joseph D. Lento will create a strategic defense that will help lessen even the starkest of consequences. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation. You don't have to traverse these complex accusations alone. The Lento Law Firm can help.