Title IX Advisor – District of Columbia College Employees

The District of Columbia (D.C.) attracts some of the nation's best college and university employees to the area's many graduate, research, and medical programs, where they educate the next generation of influential specialists and leaders. While a career as a top-notch educator welcomes demanding situations, none is more taxing than being accused of Title IX violations. Given that an institution's federal funding is linked to its Title IX obligations, schools are compelled to act quickly in managing misconduct and levying severe sanctions. If you're a college employee accused of Title IX misconduct in D.C., it's vital that you take the situation with the significance it deserves.

The investigative and hearing processes addressing Title IX allegations can be daunting. Nevertheless, college employees have the right to choose an advisor to assist them with their defense. That advisor can be—and should be—a professional Title IX advisor with proven experience to protect your reputation and future.

How Does Title IX Work?

In 1972, Congress passed legislation establishing Title IX prohibiting sex and gender-based discrimination in education programs or activities receiving federal funding. The law remains the primary method by which schools discipline sexual misconduct allegations and other behavior under federal purview. Title IX regulations also cover:

  • Bullying
  • Coercion
  • Dating/Domestic violence
  • Failure to report Title IX misconduct
  • Hazing
  • Providing false information to Title IX personnel
  • Stalking
  • Sexual assault, discrimination, and exploitation

While Title IX applies to K-12 schools and institutions of higher education, the federal guidelines also manage violations that may occur in a vast spectrum of training programs and workshops. Instructors, coaches, and staff members of D.C. colleges and universities are often recruited to participate in community events and activities that rely on their expertise. Even though it may not be a school or college-sponsored event, Title IX will still apply to activities such as:

  • Photography courses taught by the Smithsonian Institution, funded through congressional appropriations
  • Naturalist workshops in Rock Creek Park launched with funding from the Department of the Interior
  • Entrepreneurial training administered through the Small Business Association

Title IX Restructuring

The Title IX grievance process is structured to allow both parties to defend themselves against false accusations. However, the Biden Administration is set on rolling back Trump-era enforcement guidelines like in-person formal hearings, official reporting channels, witness cross-examination, and outside representative.

The Department of Justice has included language in the law to "fully enforce civil rights laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation," according to a White House press release. Yet, potential legislative expansions to prevent identity-based harassment have vast threatening implications on campuses revered for their safeguard of free speech.

Title IX Reporting Requirements for D.C. College Employees

Institutions of higher education have mandatory reporting requirements for most employees. Faculty and staff may be designated by their school as official reporting resources, also known as "responsible employees" under the Clery Act. Even though resident advisors and teacher's assistants may serve in official college roles as students, they will also be held to Title IX standards.

While reporting requirements vary from school to school, all information regarding obligations will be found in a school's employee or faculty handbook or student code of conduct. Exemptions to the rule exist, as some employees are not considered mandated reporters but are "confidential resources." Typically, these include university counselors, pastors, and student health providers.

A few examples of the differences in reporting requirements in D.C. institutions of higher education include:

  • American University: "most employees" are considered "responsible employees" who must report Title IX allegations unless they are designated a "confidential resource"
  • Georgetown University: all employees, including part-time student employees in administrative offices, training and athletics, resident advisors, and student government members, to report Title IX misconduct
  • The University of the District of Columbia: any university vice president, dean, or department head

How Does the Title IX Grievance Process Work?

Once a school's Title IX Coordinator is informed of allegations, the institution will have "actual knowledge" of the incident, and the grievance process will begin. While schools and programs differ slightly on the amount of time given to certain aspects of the process—investigations, hearings, appeals, and if the accused is a student or employee—most proceed similarly.

At Howard University, the investigation phase proceeds as follows:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the alleged victim (Complainant) to discuss the allegations. If the Title IX Coordinator dismisses the allegations, the school may still address the accused (Respondent) in any manner deemed sufficient per the school's code of conduct.
  2. The Title IX Coordinator informs the Respondent about the allegations and apprises them of their rights, including the right to be presumed "not responsible" and their right to choose an advisor.
  3. An Investigator(s) will be selected to gather evidence and interview the Complainant, Respondent, and witnesses involved.
  4. The Investigator(s) will send a preliminary report to both parties, who will have ten days to respond.

The hearing phase will begin once the final report is sent to the Title IX Coordinator.

  1. The Complainant and Respondent will have the opportunity to make an opening statement.
  2. The Decision-Maker(s) will permit each party's advisor to cross-examine the other party and witnesses. If any of them don't submit to cross-examination, the Decision-maker(s) cannot use any of their statements in their conclusion.
  3. The Complainant and Respondent may make closing remarks.
  4. The Decision-Maker(s) will base their determination of responsibility on the "preponderance of evidence" (greater than 50 percent convinced).

Appealing Title IX Misconduct

Parties may appeal the decision of their respective school disciplinary boards only in a few circumstances. For instance, at George Washington University, they include:

  • Procedural deviations affected the outcome of the case
  • New evidence emerges
  • Sanctions were disproportionate to the conduct
  • The hearing officials had a conflict of interest or bias

Title IX Consequences for D.C. College Employees

Punishments are severe if a college employee is found responsible for Title IX misconduct. Catholic University states it will consider the "full range of disciplinary sanctions, including termination of employment" for employees found responsible. Typically, reprimands include:

  • Mandatory Title IX training
  • No contact directives
  • Suspension without pay
  • Demotion and loss of tenure
  • Dismissal

Consequences will follow a college employee long after the school's disciplinary process ends. For example, Title IX violators will have the offense detailed on their employee records, causing challenges in seeking employment in other education ventures.

Sanctions also interfere with obtaining federal financial aid and make some ineligible for professional licenses and jobs. Yet, there are options for the accused to redress the situation.

How Can a Title IX Advisor Help?

Title IX misconduct will undoubtedly endanger your future in education. If you're accused, you must defend yourself in a fast-paced process with complex procedures.

Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento understands the fluctuations in federal Title IX law. He built his career advising and defending college employees from harsh misconduct allegations in the District of Columbia and across the country. His dedicated team at the Lento Law Firm knows how the administrative process works and can negotiate fair settlements for college employees to continue their work. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or through its online consultation form.

Contact Us Today!

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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