Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that prohibits sexual misconduct in federally funded colleges and universities. Being accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, or any other form of sexual misconduct at SUNY College at Potsdam is a Title IX violation that your school must resolve. If you are found “responsible” for this conduct, you could be exposed to pretty serious repercussions that could jeopardize your plans to graduate.
For the purposes of this article, we'll address the SUNY College at Potsdam's disciplinary process and why you need an attorney-advisor if you find yourself in this predicament.
SUNY College at Potsdam's Disciplinary Process
Under Title IX, the SUNY College at Potsdam is required to adjudicate any cases of sexual misconduct brought to the institution's attention. The Department of Education urges compliant higher education institutions to respond to these accusations in a manner that is prompt and equitable. If the school 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.
Any individual with knowledge of an alleged incident of sexual misconduct is encouraged to report to the Title IX Coordinator. Complaints are 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 investigatory process is guided by the need to balance the remedy of unlawful discrimination and harassment with principles of fairness, due process, and privacy. During this process, the investigator will interview the complainant, respondent, and all relevant witnesses. At the conclusion of an investigation, an investigative report will be compiled and sent to a hearing panel.
The hearing will be led by a three-person panel, who will facilitate statements made by each party and a questioning period for clarification. When all statements are heard and all questions are answered, the panel will make a determination of “responsible” or “not responsible” based on the preponderance of evidence.
Any party involved may file an appeal to overrule the determination and/or sanction(s). But the grounds of appeal are limited to the following:
- A procedural error occurred that had a direct impact on the outcome
- New evidence has come to light that has a direct impact on the outcome which could not have been discovered by a properly diligent person before or during the original proceeding;
- The sanction is too severe or not severe enough
Students have within five business days of the determination to file an appeal.
New York Title IX Attorney
If you've been accused of sexual misconduct at the SUNY College at Potsdam, you can choose anyone to be your advisor in the Title IX process. It would be in your best interest to choose an attorney who can help you effectively navigate the process and build a solid defense for you. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today for help at 888-535-3686.