Title IX violation and sexual misconduct allegations might feel like they come out of nowhere, sending you into a state of emotional turmoil. You might be wondering who you can trust or how to defend yourself. At the Metropolitan State University (MSU) of Denver, students are encouraged to work with attorney-advisors throughout every stage of the grievance process. Attorney-advisors, like those at Lento Law Firm, work tirelessly to not only guide you in making a decision but to gather and organize evidence and witness testimony. Call Lento Law Firm today.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal regulation that requires all federally funded colleges and universities to maintain certain standards when managing sexual discrimination and sexual violence accusations 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
MSU Denver prohibits gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment in an effort to provide a peaceful academic environment. They define sexual harassment to include retaliation, sexual assault, molestation, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at the Metropolitan State University of Denver?
Everyone on campus is expected to report acts of sexual misconduct or Title IX violations they become aware of swiftly. After a complaint is made, the Title IX Coordinator will review the complaint and decide what steps the university will take next. If the Title IX coordinator thinks it is warranted, they will have the complainant file a formal complaint. In some cases, complainants may choose not to move forward with the complaint, but if the coordinator believes there is still enough preliminary cause to file one, they will do it themselves. This does not make them a party to the hearing, though.
The Title IX coordinator might determine that an informal resolution process is appropriate given the facts at issue. But it is important to remember that informal resolution processes are voluntary, meaning you or the complainant may leave them at any time. If the informal resolution process is unsuccessful, the parties will be moved back onto the formal grievance process tract.
During the formal grievance process, the Title IX Coordinator will launch an investigation. The investigator will assess the complaint and begin interviewing both the accused student and the complainant. They will also begin to gather evidence and witnesses relevant to the case. Before the investigation ends, the investigator will provide both parties with a copy of their report, including all the evidence and witnesses they've uncovered, if any.
When the matter is finally referred to a hearing panel, the parties will both have the chance to present their arguments, evidence, and witnesses, as well as cross-examine the other side's witnesses and evidence. Once both sides have been heard fully, the hearing panel will meet separately to determine if the accused student is responsible for a Title IX violation or act of sexual misconduct. They will also determine any necessary sanctions.
Sanctions can range from a warning and probation to suspension and expulsion. The role of a sanction is to appropriately punish the unwanted behavior; thus, it cannot be more severe than the alleged conduct.
Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation Decision at the Metropolitan State University of Denver
Both parties will have the opportunity to appeal the hearing panel's decision. Usually, appeals must be made within a few days and on specific grounds like the following:
- There was a procedural error or lack of adequate due process that affected the outcome
- There is new evidence available now that was not reasonably available during the hearing or investigation that might affect the outcome of the matter
- The Title IX Coordinator, the investigator, or a member of the hearing panel had a conflict of interest or bias for or against the complainant or accused student that affected the outcome of the matter
Instructions and specifications for how to appeal will be discussed in the hearing panel's determination notice. Notice of the complainant's appeal will be sent promptly, and it is important to remember that you have the right to respond to that appeal and defend yourself further. Appeals are reviewed by an appellate panel and either dismissed, upheld, or modified in some way. The decision, though, is final and cannot be appealed further.
How an Experienced Attorney-Advisor Can Help
If you are accused of a Title IX violation or an act of sexual misconduct, the consequences can last much longer than just your time on campus. For example, if your privileges on campus are restricted, it might mean having to give up studying at the library on campus. Also, you might not be able to join clubs or intramural sports, and if you are already in a club or playing an intramural sport, you might have to leave them. These kinds of tertiary consequences can force you out of friend or study groups and essentially turn your new college life into an experience you loathe.
Additionally, if you are found responsible, and the university decides to suspend or expel you, you will have to clarify their existence on your transcripts for future admissions interviews. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm are skilled attorney-advisors who work tirelessly to mitigate any negative consequences you might experience. They have the passion and fighting attitude to guarantee you the best possible outcome for your case. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.