Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in higher education. Since its enactment in 1972, it's been applied in a broad range of gender-related intercollegiate issues, but recently, it's commonly referenced in cases involving a more pervasive form of gender discrimination: sexual misconduct.
If you haven't been living under a rock, you've heard about the epidemic-like rates of sexual misconduct that's occurring on Connecticut college campuses, and in schools nationwide. Current guidelines now require institutions to promptly and fairly adjudicate any complaints brought by students and staff.
Being accused, or named as a “respondent,” in a Title IX complaint alleging sexual misconduct is an uphill battle. Another layer of complexity is added to this process when the respondent also happens to be a student-athlete. This is in part due to pressure from federal entities, survivors, and the general public who demand that schools no longer make the mistake of ignoring or mismanaging cases. Allegations will not be taken lightly, and the stigma that accompanies being a respondent party will single-handedly turn your college and athletic experience upside down.
To successfully navigate the Title IX process and achieve due process as a student-athlete respondent, it's imperative you get the help of an attorney-advisor. Here's why:
You Could Lose Your Scholarship
College students who've earned athletic scholarships know better than anyone about the blood, sweat, and tears that go into being a phenomenal athlete. To be great, you need to be committed. And you've likely committed numerous hours of your life to train, condition, and hone your skills to stand out in your sport of choice. But despite training extremely hard to earn an athletic scholarship, you must understand that this opportunity is contingent upon certain conditions. And what many student-athletes learn (the hard way) is that it's actually pretty easy for a scholarship to slip through your fingers.
All it takes is one false accusation. In the past, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was continually under fire for going too easy on college athletes with a history of sexual violence. But the NCAA's response to allegations and determinations are slowly changing, as the association has started cracking down on student-athletes in this predicament by stripping scholarships. With so much at stake, it's in your best interest to get the help of a legal representative.
College Athletes are More Likely to be Named as Respondents in Complaints
According to an analysis by ESPN television program, Outside the Lines, college athletes are three times more likely than other students to be accused of sexual misconduct at Power 5 conference schools. The data provided that about 6.3% of Title IX complaints against students - whether the complaint resulted in a formal investigation or not - involved an athlete as the person accused of wrongdoing. Whether or not the student-athletes were found “responsible” for these accusations were not included in the study.
The findings of this analysis may not be all too surprising given the countless number of high-profile cases of sexual misconduct that have surfaced involving very prominent student-athletes. Nonetheless, this information should compel you to ensure that the adjudication process is as fair as it could possibly be. You can only guarantee fairness and due process with the oversight of an experienced attorney advisor.
You Might Be Ineligible to Play
In terms of handling criminal charges, Connecticut institutions, and other colleges and universities in states across the country, don't hesitate to bring down the hammer. Take a look at the popular case involving three UCLA players who were suspended indefinitely pending the outcome of a shoplifting scandal in China. But the nature of Title IX investigations seems to generate a more unpredictable reaction. In the absence of specific uniform protocol guidelines, third parties like coaches have the discretion to make decisions that can drastically affect your collegiate athletic career. In some ways, the exposure of a student-athlete is solely in the hands of an athletic director, who may or not be motivated by the desire to maintain scandal-free programs.
Some schools have cracked down on this phenomenon by only allowing administrators and deans to determine interim measures while under investigation rather than a coach or athletic director. It's important you understand your school's rules regarding if and when you'll play while under investigation.
Are You a Student-Athlete Who's Been Accused of Sexual Misconduct? Contact the Lento Law Firm
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and that your rights are protected in a Title IX investigation in Connecticut to retain a student defense attorney. The assistance of an attorney-advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process, especially for respondents. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill and expertise to help you effectively navigate the process. For a case evaluation or for more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.
Connecticut colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student athlete's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Eastern Connecticut State University
- Central Connecticut State University
- Southern Connecticut State University
- Western Connecticut State University
- University of Connecticut
- Asnuntuck Community College
- Capital Community College
- Charter Oak State College
- Gateway Community College
- Housatonic Community College
- Manchester Community College
- Middlesex Community College
- Naugatuck Valley Community College
- Northwestern Connecticut Community College
- Norwalk Community College
- Quinebaug Valley Community College
- Three Rivers Community College
- Tunxis Community College
Federal-Level Military Academy
- United States Coast Guard Academy – (exempt from Title IX and the Clery Act)
Private Colleges and Universities
- Albertus Magnus College
- Connecticut College
- Fairfield University
- Goodwin College
- Hartford Seminary
- Holy Apostles College and Seminary
- Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts
- Mitchell College
- New England Baptist College
- University of New Haven
- Paier College of Art
- Quinnipiac University
- Rensselaer at Hartford
- Sacred Heart University
- St. Vincent's College
- Trinity College
- University of Bridgeport
- University of Hartford
- University of Saint Joseph
- Wesleyan University
- Yale University
- Lincoln College of New England (formerly Briarwood College)
- Lincoln Technical Institute
- Post University
All students must be extremely mindful when accused of sexual misconduct at their college or university; student athletes in particular, however, can have even more concerns at all stage of Title IX proceedings because the stakes are higher yet – When first contacted by their school's Title IX office, when a sexual misconduct investigation begins, when facing a hearing or an appeal, or when seeking further recourse by filing a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For student athletes in Connecticut who are facing a Title IX case and their families, it is critical to take the necessary precautions as soon as possible, including having an experienced attorney advisor, when accused of sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, many student athletes and their families, not being as familiar what is at stake and also their rights in the process, will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," everything will work out. Title IX cases can be won, but student athletes and their families must recognize, however, that achieving a favorable in a Title IX case requires a dedicated and intensive approach best handled by a professional who has a track record of successes in the Title IX disciplinary arena.
Fighting passionately for the future of student athletes at colleges and universities throughout the nation for over a decade, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that a student athlete's academic and professional future, in addition to a post-college athletic career, is on the line. 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, New Jersey, and New York, 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 student athletes facing sexual misconduct investigations and disciplinary cases in Connecticut and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.