Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Violations at the Rochester Institute of Technology

Allegations of a Title IX violation and sexual misconduct can be so overwhelming, most accused students have a hard time focusing on their schoolwork. You have worked so hard to get into college, the idea of watching your dreams get ripped away in an instant is more than distracting, it's heartbreaking. But it is important to remember there are things you can do to defend yourself. At Rochester Institute of Technology, students are encouraged to get the help of an attorney-advisor. Attorney-advisors, like Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm, have worked for years helping college students in similar situations. They will work vigorously to gather evidence, question witnesses, and create a strategic defense that is guaranteed to offer you the best possible outcome for your case. 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

Rochester Institute of Technology is committed to promoting a campus community that is protected from all forms of sex discrimination, including sexual violence, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, gender-based harassment and discrimination, and stalking.

What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at Rochester Institute of Technology?

At Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), anyone who is aware of a Title IX violation or an act of sexual misconduct is encouraged to report it. After the Title IX Coordinator learns of the complaint, they will meet with the complainant and interview them on what happened during the incident. During the interview, the Title IX Coordinator will determine if a formal complaint is warranted. If they do, they will also decide if the accused student should be removed from campus until the decision-maker determines their responsibility. The accused student will have an opportunity to challenge this decision.

Once the formal complaint is filed, an investigator will meet with both the complainant and the accused student, gather and review evidence, and question witnesses. Before the investigation ends, the parties will have a chance to inspect and review the evidence obtained through the course of the investigation so they might respond to it. After the evidence is reviewed and commented on, the investigator will draft a final report and deliver it to both parties and the decision-maker at least ten days before the hearing

During the hearing, both the complainant and the accused student have equal opportunity to present their arguments, exhibit their evidence, and question their witnesses. They will also be given a chance to cross-examine the other's evidence and witnesses. At the conclusion of the hearing, the decision-maker will determine, beyond a preponderance of the evidence, if the accused student is responsible for a Title IX violation or another act of sexual misconduct. This means the decision-maker must find that the accused actions are more likely than not to have occurred.

The decision-maker will also figure out which sanctions to impose. Possible sanctions might include:

  • A warning
  • Probation
  • Temporary or permanent ban from campus or specific campus locations
  • Ban from participating in athletics practice, competitions, or events
  • Mandatory educational programs
  • Ban from participating in campus organizations or activities
  • Disqualification from future employment or student leadership activities
  • Withholding transcripts, grades, diploma or degree
  • Suspension
  • Expulsion
  • Revocation of admission and/or degree

Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation Decision at Rochester Institute of Technology

Either party can appeal the hearing officer's decision at RIT. The appeal must be made within ten days of receiving the written outcome letter from the hearing officer. But appeals can only be made on the following grounds:

  1. There was a procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter
  2. There is new evidence available now that was not reasonably available during the hearing or investigation that might affect the outcome of the matter
  3. The sanctions are substantially disproportionate to the findings
  4. The Title IX Coordinator, the investigator, or the hearing officer had a conflict of interest or bias for or against the complainant or the accused student that affected the outcome of the matter

The appeal hearing officer will review the appeal and determine if the original judgment should be upheld, rejected, or modified. In some cases, they will also refer it to be reviewed further. Whatever their decision, it is final and cannot be appealed further.

How an Attorney-Advisor Can Help

Being accused of a Title IX violation or an act of sexual misconduct has more consequences than the immediate sanctions imposed by the university. For instance, if you are banned from participating in athletics, and you are on a sports scholarship, your scholarship will be jeopardized or forfeited. Likewise, if you are banned from a specific campus location, like your residence hall, you will have to find a new place to live, which can be incredibly difficult to do in the middle of the semester. Additionally, if you are suspended or expelled, these sanctions will be noted on your transcripts, forcing you to explain the incident on every future admissions application, which literally can close doors forever moving forward.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm are skilled attorney-advisors with years of experience helping college students protect themselves against false allegations and potential egregious sanctions. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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