If you are accused of a Title IX violation or an act of sexual misconduct, it can be incredibly jarring. You've worked so hard to get into college, and now, suddenly, your dreams of graduating might be ripped away. But don't worry, at the University of Toledo, students are encouraged to work with attorney-advisors who can help guide them through the grievance process. Attorney-advisors, like those at Lento Law Firm, work tirelessly, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and creating a strategic defense to ensure the best possible outcome for your case. 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
The University of Toledo is dedicated to providing an educational environment free from sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation. They define sexual harassment to include actual or attempted sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at the University of Toledo?
Students, faculty, and staff are expected to promptly report any sexual misconduct or Title IX violation they become aware of. When a complaint is made, the Title IX Coordinator will review the alleged violation and make an initial assessment to determine what steps the university will take next. If the complainant does file a formal complaint after meeting with the Title IX Coordinator, the Coordinator will inform both the complainant and the accused student of the option for an informal resolution process.
The informal resolution process is a voluntary process, meaning both parties can decide at any time to opt-out of the proceedings. If you leave the informal resolution process before a resolution is met, the process will move back to the formal grievance process.
During the formal grievance process, the Title IX Coordinator will launch an investigation into the incident. The investigator will review the complaint and interview the accused student, complainant, any relevant witnesses, and begin to gather evidence. The investigation is supposed to conclude in a timely manner, but this, of course, depends on the allegations. Sometimes this step takes a few days, other times a few months.
Prior to the end of the investigation, the investigator will deliver to both parties a draft of their investigation report. This draft contains all the evidence the investigator has obtained, including witnesses. You have ten business days to review and comment on the draft report. The investigator will incorporate your feedback into their final report, which will be disseminated to both parties, the Title IX Coordinator, and the hearing decision-makers.
The Title IX Coordinator will schedule the hearing for no less than ten business days after the investigation ends. During the hearing, both parties will be able to present their argument, evidence, and witness testimony. You will also be able to cross-examine the other party's evidence and witnesses. When both parties have been heard fully, the hearing decision-makers will meet separately to determine responsibility and any necessary sanctions they want to impose.
Sanctions can range from straightforward to significant. Their role is to adequately punish the accused student for their actions. Thus, they cannot be harsher than the incident itself. Possible sanctions might include:
- Written warning
- Conduct probation without restrictions
- Conduct probation with restrictions
- Conduct suspension
- Conduct expulsion
- Restriction of privileges
- Residence hall transfer
- Residence life suspension or expulsion
- Educational action
- No contact directive
- Revocation of admission or degree
- Withholding degree
Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation Decision at the University of Toledo
Either party can appeal the hearing decision-makers' determination. When you receive their decision, the letter will include specific instructions you must take. Appeals are due within five business days and can only be made 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 the appeals decision-maker, who will then determine if the hearing decision-makers' judgment should be dismissed, upheld, or modified in some way. Whatever the appeals decision-maker's verdict, it is final and cannot be appealed further.
How an Experienced Attorney-Advisor Can Help
You might not realize how significant the consequences of a Title IX violation or an act of sexual misconduct can be. For example, if your privileges on campus are restricted, it might mean having to find new places, off-campus, to eat lunch. It could also mean losing your ability to join clubs, intramural sports, or attend Greek-affiliated programs. Further, for students who receive a no-contact directive, you might be forced to change your class schedule, library access, or laboratory time. This can become incredibly frustrating if you and the complainant are in the same major.
Additionally, if you are punished with a conduct suspension or conduct expulsion, you will have to explain the incident on future admission applications. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm are experienced attorney-advisors who've spent years helping college students in a similar situation. They work tirelessly to mitigate any negative consequences you might experience. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.