St. Mary's College of Maryland is an honors college that only students with excellent grades can get into. Chances are, if you attend this school, you worked hard in high school to gain acceptance and stay afloat. However, the goals you've set to ultimately graduate and become a force in the workforce may be put on hold or entirely ruined, all due to a violation of school policy.
If you have been accused sexual misconduct - one of the most damaging and severe school violations - you should know what you're up against. The repercussions of being found responsible for said behavior could jeopardize the education and professional goals you've set for yourself. For the purposes of this article, we will provide a brief overview of St. Mary's College of Maryland's Title IX Process.
Title IX Process
This higher education institution aims to completely resolve complaints of sexual misconduct within 60 days of the original report. This timeframe may be extended depending on the circumstances of a complaint.
School authorities will use specific terms throughout the duration of the Title IX process to characterize each party in a complaint. An individual who identifies as a victim/survivor of the alleged sexual misconduct will be referred to as a “complainant,” while the alleged perpetrator of said behavior will be referred to as a “respondent.”
Filing a complaint
St. Mary's College of Maryland strongly encourages each member of its community to report all rumored, witnessed and experienced instances of alleged sexual misconduct. In fact, the institution even has mandated reporting regulations, that require all “responsible employees” of the college to report this possible behavior. Once the school receives notification of the alleged sexual misconduct, the process will begin.
Interim measures, remedies and accommodations
Upon receipt of a report, the college's primary concern is ensuring that a complainant and other members of the campus community are safe from retaliation. In an effort to prevent retaliative actions, the college may deem it necessary to impose reasonable and appropriate interim measures. Depending on the circumstances, the following measures may be implemented to eliminate a hostile environment:
- The issuing of a no contact order (barring electronic, verbal, written, and third party communication between parties)
- Chances in work schedule or job assignments
- Housing and residency reassignments
- Restrictive access to certain areas of the university
- Parking and/or transportation accommodations etc.
The initial assessment
The first step of an initial assessment is usually a preliminary meeting between a complainant and the Title IX coordinator or deputy. The purpose of this step is to gain a basic understanding of the nature of the alleged misconduct. The second portion of the assessment is dedicated to providing a complainant with information regarding policy, procedures, alternative resolution options, and resources.
The Title IX coordinator will assess certain factors that will determine whether or not the process will proceed. The age of a complainant, the use of weapon, the existence of violence, etc. Once this information is garnered, a coordinator or deputy will decide whether this complaint should be resolved informally or formally.
There are two avenues of resolution for sexual misconduct at St. Mary's College of Maryland: informal resolution and formal resolution.
Informal resolution: This is an agreement between the parties to implement certain non-disciplinary remedies that are facilitated and approved by the Title IX coordinator. In cases involving sexual assault, informal resolution is not an option.
Formal resolution: a formal investigation and adjudication will be carried out by the school. This is when school investigators will come up with a determination of responsibility based upon the preponderance of evidence (whether or not it was more likely than not that the alleged incident of sexual misconduct occurred).
In the event that a respondent is dissatisfied with the outcome of an investigation, he or she may appeal. An appeal is essentially is a request for a school to reconsider its decision on the basis of reasonable grounds. The sole grounds for an appeal includes, but is not limited to:
- New information: new information has arisen which was not available or known to a respondent during an investigation or hearing
- Disproportionate sanction(s): the sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation
- Procedural error: a procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of a final determination and/or sanction
Appeals must be submitted to the Title IX coordinator or deputy within five business days of the date the outcome was sent via email to all parties.
Title IX Advisor
By allowing an attorney to occupy the role of an advisor in your case, you are ensuring that your rights are protected and that your case is defended effectively. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience successfully guiding students through their school's Title IX processes, and he can do the same for you. Contact him today for help.
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead, prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor to students facing disciplinary cases in Maryland and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help.