If Kennesaw State University is investigating you or a loved one for sexual misconduct, it is normal to be feeling overwhelmed. There is so much stigma attached to allegations of this nature, and schools can feel the need to come down hard on allegations of sexual misconduct. Though the school's disciplinary proceedings might seem confusing, you shouldn't shy away from tackling unfair allegations. Nor should you delay taking action, as there are strict time limits that apply. It is also essential to secure an experienced attorney-advisor who is well versed in school disciplinary proceedings.
Georgia Colleges and Title IX
The University System of Georgia comprises all of Georgia's public colleges and universities. USG schools, including Kennesaw State University, have a consistent Title IX and sexual misconduct policy at Georgia's many campuses.
Georgia colleges must abide by federal and state law when it comes to these statewide school campus policies. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all federally funded education programs, including sexual assault and harassment.
Schools must handle allegations of sexual misconduct that are prohibited by Title IX with a specific grievance process. The Department of Education issues official guidance, defining prohibited acts and details how the grievance process must proceed.
The University System of Georgia rewrote their school sexual misconduct policies when the Department of Education published new Title IX guidance in 2020. Campus sexual misconduct is a contentious, hot-button issue attracting party political debate. Given the ever-changing political climate, the guidance will likely change again.
These frequent changes to official guidance on Title IX have created more uncertainty for students. Students have less clarity on rules and processes and face untested or interim disciplinary proceedings. Indeed, since changes to Title IX guidance in 2020 narrowed the scope of prohibited conduct, schools have felt pressured to step up and penalize allegations of sexual misconduct under their codes of conduct.
Given the many changes to college misconduct policies in recent years, it is more important than ever to familiarize yourself carefully with school policy and make sure you have an advisor who knows the system.
Kennesaw State University Sexual Misconduct Policy
Kennesaw State University follows the University System of Georgia's Sexual Misconduct Policy. This policy ensures uniformity throughout the USG, applying in all its institutions. The policy guides schools in reporting and addressing sexual misconduct and applies to all members of the USG community.
The University System of Georgia's sexual misconduct policy protects students, faculty, staff, and visitors from discrimination based on gender, sex, gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation.
“Sexual misconduct” at Kennesaw State University is a broad term covering a range of unwanted sexual behavior. According to USG’s campus-wide sexual misconduct policy, it “includes — but is not limited to:
- Dating violence
- Domestic violence
- Nonconsensual sexual contact
- Nonconsensual sexual penetration
- Sexual exploitation: invasion of someone's sexual privacy, knowingly transmitting an STD to another, indecent exposure, and sexually based bullying.
- Sexual harassment: Unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct based on sex (including gender stereotypes), determined by a Reasonable Person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to participate in or to benefit from an institutional education program or activity.
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment: Implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment or status in a course, program, or activity or a basis for employment or educational decisions.”
Sexual Misconduct Disciplinary Process at Kennesaw State University
If someone has made a formal complaint against you, the school will forward the report to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX coordinator will dismiss the report if it fails to meet requirements or sign it, thereby launching a formal investigation.
The formal Title IX process proceeds in the following order:
- the school notify you that they are investigating you and outline the process and your rights
- the school investigate the incident, identifying witnesses and collecting evidence and interviews
- if the investigation finds that you violated school policy, the school will give you notice and arrange a hearing
- at the hearing, a panel will hear evidence, and both party's advisors will lead a cross-examination
- the hearing panel decide if you violated the Title IX policy based on the preponderance of the evidence
- following the hearing, the school will provide a written decision via email with the hearing outcome and any resulting sanctions
The Role of Your Advisor
Your advisor need not be an attorney, but an experienced Title IX attorney will give you the best chance of a favorable outcome. Your advisor may accompany you to all meetings and provide advice and counsel throughout the Sexual Misconduct process. Your advisor will also conduct the cross-examination on your behalf at the hearing.
You can appeal to the school's President in any case in which the school has issued sanctions.
You have the right to appeal the outcome on any of the following grounds:
- to consider new information not known during the time of the hearing
- to allege a procedural error within the hearing process, including improperly excluded hearing questions or a conflict of interest or bias
- to allege that the finding was inconsistent with the weight of the information.
You must make your appeal in writing within five business days of the date of the final written decision. Appeals are a review of the record and appeal presented and do not include further meetings.
The President will review your case and can reach any of the following conclusions:
- Affirm the original finding and sanction
- Affirm the original finding but issue a new sanction of greater or lesser severity
- Remand the case back to any lower decision-maker to correct a procedural or factual defect
- Reverse or dismiss the case if there was a procedural or factual defect not remedied by remand.
The President's decision is final.
Penalties of Sexual Misconduct at Kennesaw State University
According to USG's Sexual Misconduct Policy, the sanctions you face at Kennesaw State University include:
- temporary or permanent separation of the parties (e.g., change in classes, reassignment of residence, no contact orders, limiting geography of where parties can go on campus)
- sensitivity training/awareness education programs
- alcohol and other drug awareness and abuse prevention programs
- counseling, mentoring, volunteering, or community service
- loss of institutional privileges
- Or any other discretionary sanctions directly related to the violation or conduct.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento: Experienced College Sexual Misconduct Advisor
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has successfully defended hundreds of students in schools and colleges across the nation in sexual misconduct cases. Whether the school has just notified you that you are under investigation or need to appeal an unfair verdict at the hearing, attorney Joseph D. Lento will fight aggressively to clear your name. If someone has made allegations of sexual misconduct against you, you should waste no time launching a defense. Contact us online or call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686.