Student Defense for Sexual Misconduct at Palomar College

Palomar College is committed to providing an academic and work environment free of unlawful sexual harassment and sexual violence under Title IX. All students, faculty, staff, and visitors to Palomar College have the right to feel safe while on campus and partaking in activities related to the college.

To protect students and employees in connection with all academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs of Palomar College, the college has instituted several policies related to Title IX and sexual misconduct.

If you or your child is accused of sexual misconduct at Palomar College, what comes next? How does the college handle these cases, and what can you expect as the Title IX procedures unfold? If you end up with a determination of sexual misconduct or a Title IX violation on your college record, it can be a barrier to future academic and professional opportunities. Such an incident can set back your progress toward your degree and ultimately derail your education.

Although the path forward can be difficult, all is not lost. You must take the necessary steps, however, to try to ensure a fair process and the best possible outcome. The single best thing you can do is to contact a specialized student defense attorney-advisor to assist you with the process of defending yourself against a Title IX or sexual misconduct accusation at Palomar College. Attorney Joseph D. Lento can help you as he has helped hundreds of clients nationwide overcome similar challenges, and the following information will help you get up to speed on what to expect on the path forward at Palomar College.

Sexual Misconduct and Title IX at Palomar College

Palomar College has several policies related to Title IX procedures. The three most important of these policies are:

These three policies make up the crux of Palomar College's Title IX rules and procedures, stating behavior that is prohibited and the process for responding to allegations of sexual misconduct under Title IX.

Many colleges and universities have two policies regarding sexual misconduct: One that covers Title IX and one that expands upon Title IX protections. At Palomar College, however, there is no specific sexual misconduct policy other than the Title IX policy. The college will respond to sexual harassment and misconduct that falls outside the Title IX definition using California law and other applicable College policies and procedures.

Prohibited Conduct at Palomar College

Palomar College follows the federal Title IX definition of sexual harassment, and the following actions are subject to the Title IX investigative and disciplinary procedure:

  • A college employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the college on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (also known as quid pro quo harassment)
  • “Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access” to a college education program or activity
  • Sex offenses
  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Sexual assault with an object
  • Fondling
  • Incest
  • Statutory rape
  • Dating violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Stalking

Title IX Procedures at Palomar College

Palomar College has a Title IX Coordinator who is required to respond to reports of sexual harassment or misconduct; however, not every report will lead to a full investigation. If a complaint of sexual harassment or misconduct has been lodged against you, the Title IX Coordinator will launch the following process.

Processing Report and Notice

The Title IX Coordinator contacts the person filing the report (the complainant) to explain their rights and launches the formal grievance procedure. At this stage, the Title IX Coordinator also contacts the accused party (respondent) to let them know there's a formal complaint against them. Before starting an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator may dismiss a formal complaint if it doesn't satisfy Title IX conditions. The Title IX Coordinator may also seek to resolve the case informally, with the consent of both parties.

Investigation

The Title IX Coordinator or another designated administrator will investigate a formal complaint neutrally and must attempt to complete it in 180 days. The investigator will gather information and interview witnesses, evaluating the evidence using the preponderance of the evidence standard. Before creating an investigative report, the investigator invites both parties to review the evidence gathered for the investigation. Each party can submit a written response within ten days of seeing the evidence.

Hearing

After the investigative report is published, the college will hold a live hearing so both parties can respond to the evidence. The parties and their advisors do not go before a panel but before a single decision-maker, who listens to the evidence and witness statements and questions each party. At the hearing and throughout the entire process, respondents may have an advisor present with them, who may or may not be an attorney. Within 30 days of the hearing, the decision-maker will issue a decision.

Appeals

A respondent can appeal a determination of responsibility for a Title IX violation at Palomar College within 15 days of the decision. The decision-maker for the appeal is the Vice President of Student Services, who has 45 business days to either grant or deny the appeal.

Sanctions for Sexual Misconduct at Palomar College

Students found responsible for a Title IX violation at Palomar College may face one of the following sanctions:

  • Written or verbal reprimand
  • Required training or counseling
  • Non-academic probation
  • Non-academic suspension
  • Non-academic expulsion

Keep in mind that in many Title IX cases, the most likely sanction is suspension at a minimum if a respondent is found responsible.

The Role of a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor

If you are going through a Title IX procedure at Palomar College, you are allowed to have an advisor of your choosing present with you at any meetings, interviews, or hearings with the college. Your advisor can help you, for example, prepare what to say to administrators, protect your rights and interests through the investigation, assist you with cross-examining witnesses at your hearing, and coach you on how to conduct yourself throughout the process.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped hundreds of college students across the country with Title IX defense and he can help you protect your education and future. Contact Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-353-3686 to speak with our team of student defense specialists.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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