If you've been paying any attention to the news within the last few years, you've heard about the epidemic-like rates of sexual misconduct that are plaguing North Dakota college campuses and hundreds of other institutions across the country. In an attempt to resolve this issue, the Obama Administration implemented the “Dear Colleague” letter, which gives federally funded schools the responsibility of adjudicating any instances of sexual misconduct brought by students and staff.
Being a student-athlete who has been accused of sexual misconduct, or otherwise named as a respondent in a Title IX case will turn your college experience upside down. Allegations will not be taken lightly, and the stigma associated with accusations of this nature will invoke premature judgment from your classmates, friends, family, and the general public. To successfully navigate your school's process and maximize your chances of achieving true due process, one thing is for certain: you need the guidance of a student defense attorney. Here are some reasons why:
There's a Possibility You'll Lose Your Scholarship
College students who've earned athletic scholarships understand the hard work and dedication that goes into being an exceptional athlete. To be great, you need to be committed. And athletes commit a large quantity of their time to conditioning, training, and honing their schools to stand out. But despite training extremely hard to earn an athletic scholarship, you must understand that this opportunity is contingent upon very specific conditions. Unfortunately, what many student-athletes learn (the hard way) is how easy it is for a scholarship to slip through their fingers.
These days, it only takes one false accusation. The National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) response to allegations has gone from lethargic to almost assertive in recent years, as the program has cracked down on student-athletes on scholarship with a history of sexual violence. To strip away a scholarship has become the norm, and it's in your best interest to get the help of a legal representative to ensure it doesn't happen to you.
The Odds Are Against You
According to an analysis by ESPN television show Outside the Lines, college athletes are three times more likely than other students to be accused of sexual misconduct. The data provided that about 6.3% of Title IX complaints against students involved an athlete as a respondent. Whether or not the student-athletes were actually found “responsible” for these accusations was not included in the study.
You Might Be Ineligible to Play
When a student-athlete is accused of sexual misconduct, a number of interim measures are imposed in response. Interim measures are guidelines that limit or outright prohibit the interactions between respondents and victims. One of the most detrimental interim measures for student-athletes is suspension from the team.
In many cases, coaches and athletic directors have the discretion to decide whether or not to impose these interim measures. In a perfect world, you'd trust that these decisions are made in your best interest, but unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Sometimes the decision to bench you or suspend you from the team is made to keep the team out of a negative spotlight.
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 North Dakota is to retain a student defense attorney. The assistance of an attorney-advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process, especially for respondents who are student-athletes. 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.
North Dakota 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:
- Bismarck State College
- Cankdeska Cikana Community College
- Dakota College at Bottineau
- Dickinson State University
- Fort Berthold Community College
- Jamestown College
- Lake Region State College
- Mayville State University
- Minot State University
- North Dakota State College of Science
- North Dakota State University Main Campus
- Sitting Bull College
- Trinity Bible College
- Turtle Mountain Community College
- United Tribes Technical College
- University of Mary
- University of North Dakota
- Valley City State University
- Williston State College
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 Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For student athletes in North Dakota 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 North Dakota and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.