The University of California, Berkeley - or UC Berkeley - takes sexual misconduct very seriously. This is for good reason. Sexual misconduct is prevalent on college campuses. Male and female students alike experience high rates of sexual assault. As a result, many college campuses - UC Berkeley included - have made it clear that students should feel welcome to report any instances of sexual misconduct.
When you find out that your student faces an allegation of sexual misconduct, you need to take that seriously, as well. There's a lot at stake. If your UC Berkeley student has sexual misconduct on their permanent record, that could impact the rest of their life.
Taking action now to protect your student's rights during UC Berkeley's sexual misconduct investigative procedures is the best way to make sure that they don't face lifelong consequences for their alleged actions. Speak with an experienced Title IX or sexual misconduct lawyer today to learn what you can do.
University of California, Berkeley and Recent Title IX Changes
Until very recently, Title IX has been the law that governed the vast majority of sexual misconduct cases at publicly-funded universities. Now, after a 2020 update by the federal government, Title IX has changed in several respects (some changes are significant, and some are less so). Many academic institutions have changed their sexual misconduct policies to match, while promising their communities that they will always be safe.
At UC Berkeley, the university has handled these changes by creating a slightly new policy. As the university's Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination notes, “The same conduct that was prohibited by the policy prior to the changes is still prohibited.” While some grievance procedures such as how the school can interview witnesses may have changed, your student's experience as they go through the sexual misconduct investigational process will remain unchanged.
Your School's Sexual Misconduct Policy: UC Berkeley
The sexual misconduct actions prohibited by UC Berkeley have not changed because of the recent updates. You may wonder: What specific actions are they?
The UC Berkeley Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy details the actions that fall under sexual misconduct in detail. They include:
- Sexual violence
- Sexual assault (whether penetrative or contact-based)
- Overcoming the will of another student by force or manipulation with a sexual intent
- Deliberately taking advantage of the incapacitation of another student with a sexual intent
- Recording or photographing and then distributing intimate or sexual experiences without the consent of all parties involved
- Relationship violence
- Abusive behavior
- Unwanted sexual or romantic advances
- Invasions of sexual privacy
- Sexual encounters with a minor
- Exposing oneself without the consent of all parties involved
- Extortion using sexual activities.
If your student faces sexual misconduct allegations, there is clearly a wide range of actions that their allegation could represent. As your student goes through the sexual misconduct investigative process, it is vital that you have a strategy for protecting their rights.
The best way to do so is to work with a lawyer that has handled these types of cases before. An experienced student defense lawyer will be familiar with the way UC Berkeley handles adjudication of the above actions. Your lawyer will know what to look for during an investigation, and how to put together a strategic case for your student's innocence.
Due Process and Expected Penalties at the University of California, Berkeley
After UC Berkeley receives word of prohibited conduct, the designated Title IX and sexual misconduct officer will review the information and decide which course of action to take. If UC Berkeley decides to pursue a formal investigation, the university will begin by issuing written notice to all involved parties detailing the allegations and expected procedures.
The Title IX and sexual misconduct officer will then oversee an investigation. As the school delves into all potential evidence and speaks to all witnesses, your student and legal team need to build a case for their innocence. While UC Berkeley is responsible for giving your child a fair trial, it's easy for universities to side - even subconsciously - with the victim.
After the investigation, UC Berkeley will invite all involved parties to a hearing, at which your student or their legal representation will have a final chance to make their case. Shortly after the hearing, UC Berkeley will provide a recommendation for penalties for the guilty party. If your student does not feel that the recommendation is fair, your student will have a brief amount of time to appeal.
The range of penalties UC Berkeley may decide to administer is wide. According to the UC Berkeley student code of conduct, immediate punishments may include:
- Mandatory counseling, mentoring, or therapy
- Expulsion from UC Berkeley
- A verbal or written warning
- A conduct review or meeting
- A disciplinary hold on academic records
- Loss of privileges
As you can see, there really is a lot at stake.
However, these academic penalties are far from the worst repercussions your child could experience. With an allegation of sexual misconduct on their permanent record, your child might have a hard time applying for future scholarships, financial aid, academic opportunities, and even jobs. The due process of sexual misconduct investigations at UC Berkeley could even impact your student's reputation among his peers and the academic community. You need to make sure that this doesn't happen.
By working with an innovative, experienced Title IX and sexual misconduct legal team, you give your student the best possible chance of a favorable outcome after a UC Berkeley sexual misconduct hearing. Your legal advisor will know precisely how to guide you through this confusing and (at times) scary process.
Joseph D. Lento Is Ready to Protect Your Student's Rights
If your UC Berkeley student faces sexual misconduct allegations, there's no time to delay. You need to begin putting together a cohesive, clever defense to protect your student's rights as quickly as you can. Fortunately, you're already in the right place. Joseph D. Lento is an experienced lawyer with years of expertise successfully handling Title IX and sexual misconduct cases across the nation. Whether your UC Berkeley student needs assistance with the hearing process or a formal investigation, Joseph D. Lento will be on hand to help work towards a favorable outcome. For more information, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or contact us through our online form.