Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Violations at Weber State University

Getting into college is an epic journey for most high school students across the country. You're making sure you take the right classes, join the perfect clubs, play a sport, and do community service. You never imagine you might be accused of sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation. And when you are, it can feel incredibly upsetting and confusing. Where do you turn? Who can you trust? What do you do next? You hope your school will help you, but unfortunately, their top priorities will be protecting themselves and the victim, putting your due process rights at risk of neglect.

But don't fret. Weber State University allows its students to acquire professional advisors who will advocate on their behalf. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped countless students just like yourself. Their fighter's attitude and professional experience guarantee the best possible outcome for your issue. You are not alone. The Lento Law Firm will fight to protect your future.

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal regulation that creates a specific standard that all federally funded colleges and universities must uphold when managing sexual discrimination and sexual violence on their campus. These standards 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

Weber State University is committed to providing an academic environment free of harassment and sex-based discrimination. They define sexual misconduct as including acts of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation.

What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct at Weber State University?

If a person thinks they have experienced discrimination or harassment at WSU, they are encouraged to report it. Once the university receives this initial complaint, the Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Office (AA/EO Office) will review it, determine the next steps to take, and notify the accused student.

In some instances, the AA/EO Office may decide that informal resolution is appropriate. Informal resolution will require both parties to consent to not just participating but also to the sanctions offered by the AA/EO Office when the process concludes. If consent is not given, the issue will be turned over to the formal hearing process.

Once the AA/EO Office determines that informal resolution is off the table, they must ask the complainant if they wish to file a formal complaint. If the complainant declines, the matter will stop there. But if they wish to proceed, or the AA/EO Office determines there is enough preliminary evidence that a formal complaint must be entered, they will launch a more formal investigation.

There are only certain instances when a Title IX formal complaint may be dismissed, including:

  1. If the alleged conduct does not fall under “prohibited conduct” as defined by Title IX
  2. The conduct didn't occur in an educational program or activity
  3. The conduct didn't occur against someone in the U.S.
  4. When the formal complaint was filed, the complainant wasn't enrolled (or trying to enroll) in an education program or activity

During the formal investigation, the investigator will interview both the complainant and the accused student, as well as any relevant witnesses. They will also begin gathering documentary evidence and determine if there are any other WSU policies that were violated during this alleged incident.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare a report, which will be shared with both parties, who will be given an opportunity to respond within ten days of receipt. This report, and your responses, will be turned over to the appropriate administrator, who will appoint a hearing panel to oversee the formal hearing.

The hearing panel will allow the parties to present their witnesses and evidence, as well as cross-examine one another's. When the hearing ends, the panel will determine whether there is a preponderance of evidence to prove that the accused student committed a Title IX violation or an act of sexual misconduct, as well as any appropriate sanctions.

Sanctions may include any of the following punishments:

  • A warning
  • Probation
  • Suspension from a restricted enrollment program
  • Suspension of specific privileges
  • Deferred suspension
  • Suspension from the university for a period of time
  • Expulsion

Appealing a Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Violation Decision

If you are found responsible, or you believe the sanction imposed to be too harsh, you will have the opportunity to appeal the decision within ten days. Appeals must be made in writing and include the reason for the appeal, as well as any supporting evidence, and can only be made on the following grounds:

  1. A procedural irregularity affected the outcome of the case
  2. There is new evidence that wasn't reasonably available at the time of the hearing that could affect the outcome of the case
  3. The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, or Decision Makers had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome of the case

The appeal decision-maker will review your appeal and determine whether the hearing panel's ruling should be affirmed, the sanction imposed modified, or if the case should be remanded to the hearing panel for further review. This decision is final and cannot be appealed further.

How the Lento Law Firm Can Help

Sexual misconduct and Title IX violations can bring about long-lasting consequences, including the loss of autonomy on campus. Additionally, if you are found responsible and punished with any kind of sanction, including suspension or expulsion, you will be required to explain the incident on your graduate school or employment applications and interviews for the foreseeable future. But it's important to remember not to panic, your attorney-advisor will work incredibly hard to avoid or mitigate these negative consequences. Attorney Lento's strategic defense and unmatched experience will ensure your future is protected. Call 888-535-3686 today to schedule a consultation. We are here to help.

Contact Us Today!

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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