Allegations of sexual misconduct can ruin your college experience, and completely destroy your chances at achieving your academic and professional goals. If you are in this predicament, you should gain an understanding of how your school will investigate and handle your case. For the purposes of this article, we will provide a brief overview of Stevenson University’s Title IX Policy.
Title IX Process
Filing a complaint
Stevenson University encourages all members of the campus community to report any instances of sexual misconduct that is experienced, witnessed, or heard of. School guidelines even require certain employees of the school, labeled as “responsible employees,” to report any instances of the alleged misconduct they happen to hear about.
During your school's Title IX processes, there will be certain terms that a Title IX coordinator and other school authorities will use to reference all of the parties listed in a complaint. An individual who identifies as a victim/survivor will be called a “complainant.” In some circumstances, schools will occupy the role of a complainant. A person who has been accused of exhibiting prohibited behavior will be known as a “respondent.” When a report has been filed including all the appropriate information, the Title IX process will officially be initiated.
In response to sexual misconduct allegations, the university will take certain measures in order to protect the personal safety of complainants. For a respondent, such measures include, but are not limited to:
- A no contact order barring any communication (verbal, electronic, written, and through third parties)
- Housing reassignment accommodations
- A mandatory leave of absence
- An alternative work schedule
- Restrictions placed onto certain areas of campus or buildings etc.
An investigation will be conducted immediately after the university's Vice President and/or Title IX coordinator has received the complaint (this typically occurs within 5 business days of a filed complaint). Investigation will be led by the Director of Student Conduct and a second investigator who has been appointed by a Title IX coordinator. This part of the process entails the interviewing of the complainant, respondent, witnesses, and any other relevant individuals.
Upon the completion of an investigation, and after consultation with the Title IX coordinator, the investigators will prepare a document containing the investigative findings, and the rationale for these findings. The investigation will either conclude that (1) the respondent did not violate the school's policy or (2) the respondent did violate the school's policy. This decision is solely based on the preponderance of evidence.
If a respondent wishes to appeal a determination and/or sanction made by school authorities, he or she is granted the opportunity to request an appeal. Essentially, an appeal urges a school to reconsider their decision. However, in order for an appeal to be granted, it must be founded on the basis of reasonable grounds. The sole grounds for an appeal include:
- The sanction(s) imposed is substantially disproportionate to the severity of a violation
- New information that was not available at the time of an investigation is now available, and could considerably affect a determination and/or sanction
- The university deviated from its stated procedures in such a fashion that affected the fairness of a hearing
A respondent has 5 days from receiving notification of a determination to submit an appeal.
Title IX Advisor
Choosing an attorney as your advisor is the only way to ensure your rights are protected throughout the duration of your school's Title IX processes. Level the playing field by allowing skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento to help you. Contact him today for assistance.
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.