Your college can't sentence you to jail for sexual misconduct. However, the repercussions can be just as serious. If you are found responsible for a violation, the minimum penalty is likely to be suspension. More likely, you'll be expelled. If you're expelled from City Tech, you'll be barred from enrolling at any other CUNY school. In fact, a transcript notation about the nature of your offense could prevent you from enrolling anywhere, inside New York state or out. Your academic career could effectively be over, and you know what kind of impact that might have on your professional career.
With so much at stake, you'd expect schools to be especially careful about how they investigate and adjudicate all allegations. Someone's future is at stake. The process should be at least as strict as those used by law enforcement and the courts, right? In fact, the opposite is true. You have far fewer rights at a university hearing than you'd have in a court of law.
If you've been accused, you face an uphill battle, but there is hope. Learn all you can about how New York City College of Technology deals with these cases. Write down your story, collect evidence, identify witnesses, and make certain you contact an attorney who's experienced with sexual misconduct cases, someone who can help you use all these materials to defend yourself.
Sexual misconduct cases can come in two different flavors: Title IX and non-Title IX. For many years, Title IX was used to deal with virtually all allegations. As a result, it makes sense to start by learning about what this federal law says and how it operates.
Title IX is a federal law that was originally passed in 1972. Its intention was to limit “sexual discrimination” at US educational programs, including colleges and universities. Most of us think of “discrimination” as unequal treatment. However, the government has broadened the definition of this term to include a number of other related behaviors, like harassment and even sexual violence. In short, you can be investigated for a wide range of accusations, from hate speech to date rape.
Current Title IX guidelines dictate how all Title IX investigations should unfold:
- All accusations must be made to a school's Title IX Coordinator. Only a complainant or the Coordinator may sign an official complaint.
- Once an investigation has been initiated, the Coordinator must provide the respondent with notice of the allegation at least five days before any meetings on the matter. This notice must include the name of the accuser and details of the alleged incident. In addition, it must notify respondents of their rights, including the right to be presumed “not responsible” and the right to an advisor, who may be an attorney.
- Next, the Coordinator appoints an Investigator. This individual meets with both sides in the case. In addition, they collect evidence and solicit witness testimony.
- Investigations at City Tech can take up to 120 days. At the end of this period, the Investigator completes a written summary of their findings. Both sides in the case then have the opportunity to suggest revisions to this document before it is forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator.
- The Coordinator must then select a date for a live hearing and impanel an “Adjudication Committee.” The members of this committee are chosen from a pool of specially trained CUNY faculty and students. Importantly, the committee should include only members from outside the City Tech community.
- Hearings must take place within sixty days of the investigation's conclusion, and they must be live, though either side may request the use of closed-circuit video. Advisors may represent their parties fully during the hearing, presenting evidence, calling witnesses, and raising any objections. In fact, Title IX requires that only advisors may ask questions of witnesses.
- At the conclusion of the hearing, the Committee decides on the respondent's level of responsibility using the “preponderance of evidence.” According to this standard, they must be more than fifty percent convinced the respondent committed the violation. The Committee also sets sanctions for the respondent as necessary.
- Finally, both sides have a limited right to appeal the Committee's decision. Appeals must involve one of the following:
- Discovery of new evidence
- Bias on the part of a Title IX official
- Mistakes in Title IX procedures
It is important to note: In 2020, the Trump administration issued new Title IX enforcement guidelines that limited school jurisdictions and narrowed the definitions of “discrimination” and “harassment.” In response, many schools, including City Tech, chose to adopt their own sexual misconduct policies to deal with any offenses no longer covered under Title IX. Some schools maintain a separate set of procedures for these “non-Title IX” cases. However, City Tech currently uses the same basic procedures for both types of cases.
Joseph D. Lento, Sexual Misconduct Attorney
It's never a good idea to try and defend yourself against sexual misconduct charges at your college or university. The procedures are simply too complex, and the risks if you lose too great. Luckily, City Tech allows all accused students to choose an advisor to help them through the case. That advisor can and should be an attorney.
Joseph D. Lento isn't just any attorney. He specializes in school misconduct cases. He's an expert in Title IX law and experienced in dealing with college faculty and administration. He's defended hundreds of clients, just like you, from all types of sexual misconduct allegations, from simple harassment to dating violence and rape. Whether you're looking to prove your innocence or simply to negotiate a fair settlement that will let you continue your academic career, Joseph D. Lento can help get you the very best possible resolution to your case.
If you or your child has been accused of sexual misconduct, don't wait to act. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.