When you are accused of sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation, you are entitled to the guidance of an attorney-advisor. Attorney-advisors work tirelessly to collect evidence and witness testimony and create strategic defenses that guarantees you the best possible outcome for your case. Being accused of such issues can be overwhelming, you may not know who to turn to for help or who to trust, and the grievance process is grueling. You will want to have someone on your side to help you fight. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm can help. Call today.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal regulation that creates a specific requirement that all federally funded colleges and universities must uphold when managing sexual discrimination and sexual violence on their campus. These requirements 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
Central Michigan University is dedicated to eliminating all forms of discrimination and creating a safe space for its students free of sexual misconduct, which they define as sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at Central Michigan University?
Central Michigan University takes sexual misconduct and Title IX accusations very seriously and expects all students and faculty to report any incident if they witness one. Once a complaint has been filed, the Title IX Coordinator will interview the complainant and determine if a formal complaint should be filed. In some cases, the Title IX Coordinator will dismiss the complaint and notify the accused student of the complaint and its dismissal.
Other times, a formal complaint is warranted. When a formal complaint is filed, the Title IX Coordinator will decide if an informal resolution is reasonable. Both parties must agree to the informal resolution before it can be pursued, and either party has the power to recuse themselves from informal resolution.
After the formal complaint is filed and the Title IX Coordinator decides an informal resolution is inappropriate (or one or more of the parties leaves the process), the Title IX Coordinator will assign an investigator to interview both the accused student and the complainant about the incident. The investigator will also gather and review the evidence and speak to any witnesses who might have been present or have other knowledge of the situation. When they are through, they will deliver their report to both parties and the Hearing Officer.
The Hearing Officer will then schedule a hearing, providing enough time for both parties to prepare their arguments. Prior to the hearing, you will have the opportunity to review the investigator's report. Working with an attorney-advisor will give you ample opportunity to decide how to pursue your defense based on this report.
During the hearing, both parties will have the ability to present evidence and witness testimony. You will also have the opportunity to cross-examine the other party's witnesses and evidence. When both sides have been heard fully, the Hearing Officer will determine if the student did, in fact, commit an act of sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation based on a preponderance of the evidence and which sanctions best fit the incident. Sanctions must not be harsher than the conduct itself. Possible sanctions might include:
- Removal from CMU housing
- Campus restrictions
- Educational program
- Revocation of CMU privileges
- Disciplinary probation
- No contact orders
Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation Decision at Central Michigan University
When the Hearing Officer has made their decision, they will deliver it to the parties. This decision will also include the steps for an appeal. Generally, an appeal must be submitted within five business days of the decision being issued and cannot be made on one of the following grounds:
- Giving supportive measures other than emergency removal
- The determination to grant or not to grant a good cause extension of time
- The decision about what evidence or witness testimony to consider
- The determination of the scope of the investigation
- The scope of the hearing
- The documentation available for review
- The decisions made by the Hearing Officer at the hearing
- Finalized and signed informal resolutions
The Associate Vice President for Student Affairs will review the written appeal and either affirm the sanctions, reject the sanctions, or impose an alternative sanction. Either way, the appeal is final and cannot be pursued further.
How a Skilled Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Being accused of a Title IX violation or an act of sexual misconduct can have several different consequences beyond the sanctions that are imposed during the hearing. For instance, even if students are found not responsible for the allegations, the entire process could cause emotional turmoil and mental health struggles. Additionally, if they are found responsible and punished with suspension or dismissal, they may find it hard to get into another university or graduate school. Every admissions board will want to know what happened and may make an admissions decision based on reputation instead of academic merit.
Attorney-advisors, like Attorney Lento, can help you defend yourself from such unnecessary consequences. They have the unmatched passion and fighting attitude to orchestrate the best possible defense for your case. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.