Should Students Be Designated as “Responsible Employees” When It Comes to Title IX and Sexual Misconduct?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 30, 2022 | 0 Comments

Earlier in September 2022, Trinity College updated its Policy on Sexual Harassment to label student employees as “Responsible Employees.” In the updated Policy, responsible employees must report potential violations of the Sexual Harassment Policy to the Title IX Coordinator or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator that they witness during the time of their employment.

How Will This Update Impact Student Employees?

At most colleges across the country, employees are instructed to report any incident of sexual misconduct or Title IX violation that they witness. Failing to report an incident could cause the employee to incur a disciplinary action, which might include being terminated from the position. Of course, the disciplinary action is supposed to match the severity of the incident.

If student employees are expected to be mandatory reporters as well, it could open them up to sanctions if they fail to report incidents. These sanctions could include anything from a written reprimand to being removed from their employment position, suspension, or expulsion from the university.

And what happens if a student witnesses an incident but does not realize it is sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation? If they are then punished for not reporting the incident, it could be a violation of their own rights.

How This Update Will Affect Student Employees

Student employees occupy an interesting and unique place in campus life. They are both a student, held to the same academic and behavioral expectations of their peers, and an employee who must abide by the college's employment policies and procedures. Trinity College's update to its Policy on Sexual Harassment will infringe on the rights of the student employees. Not only will they be subjected to punishment for failing to report an incident they witnessed, but they will also face academic disciplinary sanctions, which could affect their ability to graduate.

Additionally, most university staff is required to undergo extensive training to be able to identify such a situation and know how to help. Student employees at Trinity College must attend online trainings covering their new role. Online training is usually less successful or helpful than in-person training, which at this time is only voluntary.

How a Skilled Attorney-Advisor Can Help

If you or someone you love works as a student employee at a university or college and is accused of failing to report an incident of sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation, working with an attorney-advisor is your best bet for protecting yourself. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and Lento Law Firm have spent years helping students navigate the complexities of Title IX and sexual misconduct-related accusations. They understand how nuanced these proceedings can be and will work tirelessly to defend you.

Mandatory reporting has not been widely required of student employees until recently. And if you are unaware of the brevity of the incident you witnessed, you should not be held responsible for failing to report it. Call 888-535-3686 or schedule a consultation online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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