When you are accused of a Title IX violation or sexual misconduct, having an attorney-advisor to guide you through the process is an unmatched advantage. It can mean the difference between being expelled and having the accusations dismissed entirely. Attorney-advisors work tirelessly to gather relevant evidence, interview witnesses, and strategize a defense that will guarantee the best possible outcome for your case.
These types of allegations can be scary. You may not know who you can turn to or what the next steps are. Attorney-advisors, like Lento Law Firm, will help you defend yourself and mitigate any emotional upset you might feel. They know the best defense is a quick defense. Call for help today.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal regulation that mandates particular requirements that all federally funded colleges and universities must maintain 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
The University of Memphis is committed to providing an academic environment free of discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is defined as sexual assault, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at the University of Memphis?
The University of Memphis responds to allegations of sexual misconduct and Title IX violations quickly. After a complaint is filed, the University of Memphis's Title IX Coordinator will talk to the complainant and decide if a formal complaint should be filed against the accused student. Once the formal complaint is filed, the Coordinator will appoint an investigator to explore the matter further.
The investigator will notify the accused student of the allegations within seven days of receiving the complaint. The accused student has five days to respond to the notification in writing. Then the investigator has 60 days from the date of receiving the complaint to finish their investigation. During the investigation, the investigator will review the complaint, interview the complainant, the accused student, and relevant witnesses, and review any documentary evidence that is currently present.
While the investigation is ongoing, the Coordinator may decide that an informal resolution process is warranted and will notify the parties of this option. Both parties have the right to end the informal resolution process at any time.
When the investigation is complete, the investigator will prepare their report and distribute it to the complainant, accused student, and the Title IX Coordinator. This report will weigh the credibility of the parties interviewed to determine how much weight should be given to the information they gathered during the investigation. It will also include a determination on whether the accused student did, in fact, commit an act of sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation.
Once this determination is made, the matter will be moved to the Vice President of Student Affairs, who will decide what sanctions the student should be subjected to. Possible sanctions include anything from a warning and probation to suspension and expulsion but cannot be harsher than the action itself.
The University of Memphis operates differently than most other schools in the United States. In most other schools, the investigator's report is merely an additional evidentiary item for a hearing panel or officer to review. You are able to bring your case to that party and defend yourself in person. But at the University of Memphis, no such option exists. This means that during your interviews with the investigator, you will want to present your case as efficiently as you can. If the idea of doing that alone is overwhelming, working with an attorney-advisor can help.
Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation Decision at the University of Memphis
The investigator's report will be delivered to the parties as soon as it is finished. You have ten working days to appeal their decision. In some instances, you have the option to ask for an extension to your appeal time, but they are rare.
Your appeal should explain why you believe the factual information was incomplete, or the investigator's analysis of the facts was incorrect, and/or the appropriate legal standard was not applied, and how this would change the investigator's decision. You do have the option to present new information that could change the investigator's decision, but it must be done in writing, not in person.
The President will issue a written response to the appeal. In most cases, they will either uphold the decision, dismiss the decision, or modify the sanction prescribed. Either way, this decision is final and cannot be appealed further. Thus, it is really important to make the most out of your appeal. It could be your last chance to preserve your dream of graduating from the University of Memphis without a sanction marring your transcript.
How a Skilled Attorney-Advisor Can Help
Title IX violation and sexual misconduct allegations can have considerable consequences in addition to the punishments the investigator may impose.
For example, if you are sanctioned with the loss of privileges on campus, that might prevent you from accessing the dining halls or moving around campus with autonomy. Additionally, the emotional turmoil that might occur from having to defend yourself in a space where you felt safe may cause future mental health struggles.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm have years of experience helping college students in a similar situation. Universities and colleges are meant to protect both the complainant and the accused student from getting lost in the shuffle. Unfortunately, many schools forget this and attempt to resolve issues quicker than necessary, forcing students to defend themselves in ways that infringe on their due process rights. Attorney Lento and his team will work diligently to ensure this doesn't happen to you. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.