Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that prohibits sexual misconduct in federally funded colleges and universities. Accusations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, or any form of sexual misconduct at SUNY College at Cortland is a Title IX violation that the school has the responsibility to resolve. If you are a student at SUNY College at Cortland who has been found “responsible” this misconduct, you could be exposed to serious consequences that could jeopardize your plans to graduate.
For the purposes of this article, we'll highlight SUNY's disciplinary process and why you need an attorney-advisor if you find yourself in this predicament.
SUNY College's Disciplinary Process
Under Title IX, SUNY College at Cortland is required to adjudicate any cases of sexual misconduct brought to the institution's attention. The Department of Education urges compliant higher education institutions like SUNY to respond to these accusations in a manner that is prompt and equitable. If the university fails to do so, its federal funding is at stake. Complainants (the reporter of the complaint) and especially respondents (the person accused of sexual misconduct) should understand that their school will approach their case with the utmost seriousness, and each party should follow suit.
Filing a Complaint
Complaints of sexual misconduct may be made verbally or in writing to the Title IX Coordinator, but complainants are encouraged to file a written complaint. The complaint is to include the names of the people involved, the names of witnesses, a detailed description of the alleged conduct, when and where the conduct occurred, and relevant evidence of correspondence (text messages, emails, social media, etc).
There is no statute of limitations with respect to filing a complaint of an alleged incident. However, complainants are encouraged to report a violation as soon as possible.
The Title IX Coordinator will discuss the matter with both the complainant and the respondent. Both parties will learn about policies and procedures, be informed of their rights, and given the chance to choose an advisor.
During the course of an investigation, a third party will:
- Give the respondent proper notice of the complaint and investigation and provide him or her an opportunity to render information
- Interview the complainant, the respondent, and any material witnesses
- Gather all relevant documentary and/or physical evidence
- Complete the investigation in a timely manner, without unnecessary deviation from the intended timeline
- Maintain communication with the complainant and the respondent on the status of the investigation and overall process
Next, a hearing will ensue. In this hearing, a Tripartite Panel comprised of faculty and staff will--based on the findings of the investigation--come up with a determination. If the panel decides the respondent is, in fact, responsible for the incident of sexual misconduct, sanctions will be recommended.
Students have within 5 calendar days of the date of receipt of the decision to file a written appeal to an Appeal Officer. The appeal must include a detailed statement that highlights the grounds upon which the appeal is based.
New York Title IX Attorney
If you've been accused of sexual misconduct at SUNY College at Cortland, you can choose anyone to be your advisor in the Title IX process. Because the stakes are so high, it would be in your best interest to choose a legal professional who can help you effectively navigate the process and build a solid defense for you. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today at 888-535-3686 for help.