Student Defense for Title IX Allegations at the University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky (UK) is committed to providing a safe learning, living, and working environment for all members of the University community and therefore prohibits sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual exploitation. UK has policies that address suspected instances of sexual harassment and misconduct, including investigations and disciplinary procedures.

If you are a UK student accused of sexual misconduct, you should consider it a grave matter. The university will not hesitate to launch a formal investigation and hearing, which could result in severe sanctions. You could end up suspended or even expelled from UK if you are found responsible for sexual misconduct. It's important to seek the advice of a qualified student defense attorney-advisor before that matter goes too far, so you can save your education.

Sexual Misconduct Policies at UK

UK has two main policies concerning sexual and gender-based misconduct. They are:

  • AR 6.1: Policy on Discrimination and Harassment
  • AR 6.2: Policy and Procedures for Addressing and Resolving Allegations of Sexual Assault, Stalking, Dating Violence, and Domestic Violence

Both the UK Office of Institutional Equity and Equal Opportunity (IEEO) and the Title IX Coordinator administer these policies. Typically, the Code of Student Conduct's adjudication and disciplinary procedures apply to violations of the Policy on Discrimination and Harassment. However, the IEEO Office may determine that a violation falls under the AR 6.2 policy instead. UK does not have a separate policy that covers Title IX, as some universities do. The AR 6.2 policy addresses all concerns and complaints related to Title IX.

Prohibited Behavior

Both AR 6.1 and AR 6.2 prohibit certain forms of behavior in the UK community:

  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Retaliation
  • Sexual assault
  • Stalking
  • Dating violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Complicity in committing any prohibited acts

It is also a violation of these policies to interfere with procedures to investigate or redress a complaint of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence. Making a false accusation of any of the above behaviors is also a violation.

Procedures for Handling Sexual Misconduct at UK

All the procedures for handling formal complaints of sexual misconduct at UK are in the appendix of the AR 6.2 policy. The process goes through five phases: Initiating a complaint, investigation, informal resolution (optional), hearing, and appeals.

Initiating a Complaint

Any complaints of suspected violations of the AR 6.2 policy go to the Title IX Coordinator. After receiving a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator must undertake an investigation or designate someone else to do so. At this point in the process, the Title IX Coordinator may also implement interim remedies, such as an interim suspension.

Investigation

The Title IX Coordinator's (or designee's) investigation determines if there is enough information to support an alleged violation of the AR 6.2 policy and, if so, which violation occurred.

Informal Resolution Option

Before the matter moves to a formal hearing, the Title IX Coordinator sets up a pre-hearing meeting with the complainant (the accuser) and respondent (the accused) to review the results of the investigation. At this meeting, the parties may also discuss the hearing process, give input on sanctions, and attempt to resolve the matter without a formal hearing. If the parties do not agree to an informal resolution, the matter moves to a hearing officer for formal resolution by a hearing panel.

Hearing

The sexual misconduct hearing panel is made up of three faculty members who have received annual training from the Title IX Coordinator related to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. At the hearing, the university represents the interests of the complainant, and the burden of proof rests on the university. Six days prior to the hearing, both the university and respondent may submit the name of a support person (who may be an attorney or advisor), a list of possible witnesses, and a preliminary list of questions to the hearing officer.

During the hearing, the members of the panel may pose questions to witnesses and both parties. Both parties (not their advisors) may also cross-examine witnesses and each other. The hearing officer asks questions submitted by both parties before the hearing, but only those questions deemed relevant. After the hearing panel reviews the evidence, it determines if the respondent has violated the AR 6.2 policy using the preponderance of the evidence standard. If the panel decides the respondent is responsible for a violation, it also recommends sanctions.

Appeals

The respondent or complainant (not the university) may appeal the panel’s decision by submitting a formal request to the sexual misconduct appeals board (SMAB). The Chair of the SMAB and two of its members review the appeal and may either uphold the panel's findings, modify the sanction (without increasing the penalty), or remand the case to the hearing panel.

Potential Sanctions for Sexual Misconduct at UK

The AR 6.2 policy recommends different sanctions based on the violation. For sexual assault, potential sanctions are:

  • Suspension
  • Dismissal
  • Revocation of admission and/or degree

For dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, the potential sanctions are:

  • Disciplinary probation
  • Counseling assessment
  • Social restrictions
  • Social suspension
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal
  • Revocation of admission and/or degree

How a Student Defense Attorney-Advisor Can Help

If you are accused of sexual misconduct at UK, you may feel overwhelmed by the formal investigation and adjudication procedures. An advisor specialized in student defense can not only accommodate you at your hearing but can also help you through each step of the process. They can ensure you know how to conduct yourself, help you prepare questions to ask, and provide support related to your defense.

Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have helped hundreds of college students nationwide with sexual misconduct and Title IX cases. Contact the Lento Law Firm today by calling 888-535-3686 to protect your education.

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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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