Sexual Misconduct Charges at North Carolina A&T State University

Sexual misconduct charges at a college or university are always serious. How serious? You're likely to be expelled if you're found responsible for a violation. In fact, the minimum penalty in such cases is usually suspension.

Given what's at stake, you would expect schools to be careful about bringing charges against students. You would assume they would give respondents (the accused) due process rights and do everything in their power to ensure justice is done. In today's political environment, that's not always the case, though. Schools sometimes assume respondents are guilty, even before conducting an investigation. They don't always allow students to defend themselves at a formal hearing. They almost never use the “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” standard to decide whether or not students have committed an offense.

Here's the good news: you're entitled to an advisor, someone to represent your best interests during an investigation. In addition, that advisor can be an attorney. It's important you take full advantage of this right, though. A family or local attorney won't do. You need a Title IX attorney. Why? Only a Title IX attorney has a deep understanding of the law, and only a Title IX attorney will have experience working with student clients.

Title IX and Sexual Misconduct

What's so important about Title IX, and why do you need an expert in this law to represent you if you've been accused of sexual misconduct?

Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 that prohibits sexual discrimination and harassment on college campuses. Like most schools, North Carolina A&T State University handles almost all sexual misconduct allegations using the Title IX statute. If you're charged with a sexually-based offense, odds are the case will be investigated and adjudicated using procedures spelled out in this law.

Like most federal laws, Title IX is complex. Implementation guidelines run to some 550 pages, and that doesn't include executive branch memos and judicial opinions. Even NC A&T's interpretation of these rules is 18 pages.

Here, we offer a condensed version of what to expect if you should be charged, but only someone who has studied the law has a clear grasp of all its many nuances and truly know how to handle a Title IX case.

  • Every college and university has a Title IX Coordinator. This individual sets school policy on sexual discrimination and decides whether or not to pursue individual allegations. Anyone at your school may report you if they suspect you've committed sexual misconduct, but only a Complainant (alleged victim) or the Coordinator may sign an official complaint against you.
  • If your school opens an investigation against you, you are entitled to written notice of the charges. This notice should include details about the allegation as well as the name of the Complainant (alleged victim).
  • Title IX affords you several important rights. Among these, you have the right to be presumed “not responsible”; you have the right to an advisor; you have the right to be investigated and judged by unbiased officials; and you have the right to review all evidence against you.
  • The Coordinator also has responsibility for appointing an Investigator to collect evidence in the case.
  • The Investigator should meet regularly with both parties. They also collect any physical evidence and interview all potential witnesses to the incident.
  • Ultimately, the Investigator completes a written report which should offer an unbiased summary of their findings. Both sides then have ten days to review this document and request any changes before a final version is forwarded to the Coordinator.
  • Once they've received the Investigative Report, the Coordinator sets a date and time for a live hearing.
  • The Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs presides over the hearing and serves as the Decision Maker in the case.
  • During the hearing, both sides have an opportunity to make arguments, present evidence, and call witnesses. In addition, you have the right to cross-examine one another and any witnesses against you. Only advisors may examine witnesses, however. If you do not have an advisor, the school must provide you with one, though they are not required to provide you with an attorney.
  • At the conclusion of the hearing, the Vice Chancellor renders a decision as to your responsibility (guilt or innocence). In making this decision, they use a legal standard known as “Preponderance of Evidence.” According to this standard, they must find you responsible if they believe it is “more likely than not” that you committed an offense.
  • Both sides have the right to appeal the hearing outcome. However, there is a time limit on filing such an appeal, and grounds for appeal are typically limited to: a procedural irregularity that affected the outcome; new evidence that has a bearing on the case; a conflict of interest on the part of a Title IX official.

Non-Title IX Cases at the American University

Again, most NC A&T sexual misconduct cases are Title IX cases. However, a small number are handled under a separate policy with its own set of procedures. That's because the Title IX rules changed in 2020. Among the changes, incidents that occur at off-campus sites are no longer covered under the law. In response, many schools, including NC A&T, re-wrote their student codes of conduct to cover these so-called “non-Title IX” accusations.

Colleges and universities are under no obligation to follow any particular set of procedures for these non-Title IX cases. Nor are they required to provide students with any particular due process rights. In fact, many don't.

Luckily, NC A&T deals with these cases using the same basic rules it uses for all other student misconduct issues like vandalism, theft, and assault. For the most part, the process works much like the Title IX process. For instance, you have the right to be presumed “not responsible” and the right to an attorney. You can defend yourself at a formal hearing. Decision Makers use the “Preponderance of Evidence” standard in deciding your level of responsibility. While there may be minor differences in procedure, a competent Title IX attorney has the expertise to handle them.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-qualified defense attorney. He's not just any defense attorney, though. Joseph D. Lento is what's known as a “Title IX attorney.” Essentially, he specializes in handling campus sexual misconduct cases. In fact, over the years, Joseph D. Lento has handled hundreds of such cases for students just like you, making sure they're treated fairly and that their schools afford them every due process right they deserve. Joseph D. Lento is familiar with both Title IX and non-Title IX cases. He also knows how to talk to school faculty and administrators. Most importantly, Joseph D. Lento is on your side. Whatever you're facing, he's committed to making sure that you get the best possible resolution to your case.

If you or your child has been accused of sexual misconduct, don't wait to act. The school is already preparing its case. You should be too. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

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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