Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that prohibits sexual misconduct in federally funded colleges and universities. Being accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, or any other form of sexual misconduct at Skidmore College is a Title IX violation that your school must resolve. If you are found “responsible” for this conduct, you could be exposed to pretty serious repercussions that could jeopardize your plans to graduate.
For the purposes of this article, we'll address Skidmore College's disciplinary process and why you need an attorney-advisor if you find yourself in this predicament.
Skidmore College's Disciplinary Process
According to Title IX, Skidmore College is required to adjudicate any cases of sexual misconduct brought to the institution's attention. The Department of Education urges compliant higher education institutions like Skidmore College to respond to these accusations in a manner that is prompt and equitable. If the school fails to do so, its federal funding is at stake. Complainants (the reporter of the complaint) and especially respondents (the person accused of sexual misconduct) should understand that their school will approach their case with the utmost seriousness, and each party should follow suit.
Filing a Formal Report
If the respondent is a currently enrolled student, any person who has experienced an incident of sexual misconduct may file a formal report with the Title IX Coordinator or designee. Complaints are to include the names of the people involved, the names of witnesses, a detailed description of the alleged conduct, when and where the conduct occurred, and relevant evidence of correspondence (text messages, emails, social media, etc).
There is no statute of limitations with respect to filing a complaint of an alleged incident. However, complainants are encouraged to report a violation as soon as possible.
A meeting between the Title IX Coordinator and the complainant will ensue. During this meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will collect information from the complainant and determine how to proceed. The options for next steps include:
- Not enough information presented to move forward with a formal complaint
- Moving forward with a formal complaint: information collected in the formal report gives reasonable cause to believe a violation of school policy may have occurred and warrants further investigation. A full investigation will begin.
The purpose of the investigation is to collect information from the complainant, the respondent, and the witnesses and compile a finding. This finding will be assessed in a hearing.
The Conduct Administrator shall assemble a Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Adjudication Panel of three trained members of Skidmore's staff or faculty to review sexual and gender-based misconduct cases. All parties will be given an opportunity to make statements and provide evidence.
Once all accounts are heard, the adjudication panel will deliberate in private to review the investigation report to determine whether the respondent is “responsible” for the sexual misconduct.
A student involved in the conduct process as a Reporting Individual or a Responding Student may file a written appeal of the Adjudication Panel's decision. Students have within three days of the written outcome to submit an appeal. Appeals will only be considered on the following grounds:
- A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the process (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);
- The discovery of new information, unavailable to the appealing party during the original panel or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction; or
- Sanctions are disproportionate to the nature or severity of the violation or violations, taking into account the totality of the circumstances (including the cumulative conduct record of the Responding Student if any).
New York Title IX Attorney
If you've been accused of sexual misconduct at Skidmore College, you can choose anyone to be your advisor in the Title IX process. It would be in your best interest to choose an attorney who can help you effectively navigate the process and build a solid defense for you. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686 for help.