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 Empire State College 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 SUNY Empire State College's disciplinary process and why you need an attorney-advisor if you find yourself in this predicament.
SUNY Empire State College's Disciplinary Process
Under Title IX, SUNY Empire State College 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.
Filing a Complaint
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.
An investigation will ensue. This entails interviews involving the complainant, respondent, and witnesses. At the conclusion of the investigation, an investigative report will be sent to the hearing panel.
A panel made up of 3 people will review all the relevant information, interview pertinent witnesses, and at their discretion, hear testimony from the complainant and the respondent, if desirable. Both the complainant and the respondent(s) shall be entitled to submit written statements and/or other relevant material evidence and witnesses, and to provide a rebuttal to the written record compiled by the tripartite panel. The complainant and respondent have the right to request alternative arrangements if the complainant does not want to be in the same room as the other party. These alternative arrangements must be consistent with the rights of the accused and must enable both parties and the panel to hear each other during any hearing.
Both the complainant and the respondent, if a student, faculty member or employee, may file an appeal based on dissatisfaction with the finding of responsibility for a violation (or the lack of such a finding), or with the sanction imposed, or both. The grounds of appeal are limited to:
- A procedural error occurred during the process 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 (appeal from respondent); or the sanction is too lenient (appeal from the complainant)
Students must submit an appeal within five business days of the determination to the Office of Student Conduct.
New York Title IX Attorney
If you've been accused of sexual misconduct at SUNY Empire State College, 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.