Accusations of Title IX violations or acts of sexual misconduct can feel overwhelming and isolating. Where can you turn for help? Who is on your side? At Nova Southeastern University, students are allowed to pair with an attorney-advisor who will help their defense through the grievance process. Attorney-advisors, like those at Lento Law Firm, work tirelessly to guarantee you the best possible outcome for your case. They will gather relevant evidence, interview witnesses, and create a strategic defense on your behalf. Call Lento Law Firm today for help.
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
Nova Southeastern University is committed to maintaining an academic environment free from sexual discrimination and misconduct, which they define as sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual penetration, non-consensual sexual contact, non-forcible sexual offenses, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at the Nova Southeastern University?
Nova Southeastern University expects anyone on campus to report an incident of sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation promptly. Once a complaint is made, the Title IX Coordinator will interview the complainant about the incident and determine if a formal complaint is warranted. They will also decide if the accused student should be removed from campus while the rest of the grievance process takes place.
Title IX coordinators will issue an emergency removal if they've determined there is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of another person after an individualized safety and risk analysis. If they decide emergency removal is appropriate, the accused student will have an opportunity to challenge the decision after they are removed.
After the complainant has filed a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the accused student of the allegations and launch an investigation into the matter. The investigator will interview both the complainant and the accused student, gather documentary evidence, and interview relevant witnesses. Prior to your interview with the investigator, you will have ample time to prepare, gather your own evidence and witnesses to share with the investigator, and time to respond to the allegations.
When the investigation is complete, the investigator will send their final report to both parties and the hearing panel. The hearing panel will notify both parties of a date for the hearing. At the hearing, you and the complainant will have equal opportunity to present witnesses and evidence, as well as cross-examine the other side's witnesses and evidence.
A hard copy of this report, as well as directions for the next steps, will be sent to both parties. The hearing will be scheduled for no earlier than ten days after the reports are received. Five days before the hearing, the hearing panel will meet with both parties to inform them of the hearing proceedings.
When both sides have been fully heard, the hearing panel will meet in private to decide if, based on a preponderance of the evidence, the accused student is responsible for committing a Title IX violation or an act of sexual misconduct. They will also decide which sanctions are appropriate, if any. Possible sanctions might include:
- Parental notification
- Termination or change of residence hall agreement/accommodation
- Restriction or revocation of privileges
- Verbal warning
- Disciplinary warning
- Final disciplinary probation
- Temporary suspension
Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation Decision at Nova Southeastern University
Both parties can appeal the hearing panel's determination. Usually, the instructions for your appeal are in the same letter as the decision. Appeals are usually due within a few days of receiving that letter, but specific deadlines vary, so make sure to check with your administration.
At Nova Southeastern University, appeals can only be filed on the following grounds:
- 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
The appeal will be reviewed by an appellate decision-maker who will decide if the hearing panel's decision should be dismissed, upheld, or modified in some way. Whatever their decision, it is final and cannot be appealed further.
How a Skilled Attorney-Advisor Can Help
When you are getting accused of a Title IX violation or an act of sexual misconduct, you might not understand the longer lasting consequences you might experience besides the immediate sanctions the university is going to impose. For example, if your residence accommodation is terminated and you don't have a vehicle, you will not only have to move off-campus, but you'll have to find a way to commute as well.
Additionally, if you are punished with a suspension or expulsion, notations of those punishments will live on your transcripts forever. Any time you appeal to a new school or graduate program, you will have to explain the circumstances surrounding them. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm are experienced attorney-advisors who've spent years helping college students in a similar situation. They will work carefully and diligently to alleviate any possible negative consequences. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.