Thousands of college and university students each year enter into a contract with the government known as the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Those accepted into the program can receive tremendous benefits such as scholarships that pay for their college education. The students are also committing to a defined period of military service and are eligible to become a commissioned officer in their branch of service.
In Alaska, the ROTC curriculum is exclusively offered by the University of Alaska's Anchorage and Fairbanks campuses. Some of the advantages that are available to these students are as follows:
- All ROTC coursework qualifies for academic credit
- Students may have their tuition paid for three or four years
- Out-of-state student tuition that is not paid for may be reduced to the in-state rates
- The Alaska National Guard participates in these programs
What is Title IX?
Title IX was established in 1972 to address sexually-based discrimination in U.S. educational institutions. Compliance is needed for maintaining eligibility for federal education funding. Rape, battery, and other acts of sexual violence committed against the will of a victim are serious violations of Title IX. These are acts where the victim either has not granted consent or is incapable of granting consent to participate in sexual activity.
Acts of sexual harassment are also prohibited. These include acts committed either verbally or nonverbally. Victims are often subjected to a hostile environment that results from slurs or stereotypes. Discrimination can occur when someone is denied entrance or the right to participate based on their gender or sexual orientation. Other examples of violations include making inappropriate sexual advances or unwelcome requests for sexual favors.
Standards of Proof and Possible Sanctions
Title IX violations are generally evaluated in a hearing that applies a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Recent federal guidelines were extended to allow for using a “clear and convincing evidence” standard also. Both options are lesser standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt” that applicable in criminal cases.
If the allegations against a student are proven, they are likely to be suspended or dismissed from the institution. ROTC students are also likely to face subsequent disenrollment proceedings. Those ousted from the program will be ineligible to become a commissioned officer. They may be required to complete their active-duty military commitment and to repay their scholarship and other benefits received. These financial consequences can be significant, as the government has previously ordered reimbursements in the range of $150,000.
Benefits of Retaining a Student Rights Attorney
Parties are generally permitted to select an advisor to support them in hearings and other proceedings related to Title IX. The same applies to those in the ROTC disenrollment process. Students that are notified that they are the subject of these proceedings should promptly consult with a lawyer. This will allow for sufficient time to prepare your defense. Your attorney will ensure you are prepared to deliver clear statements and effectively respond to questions.
Seasoned Defense Attorney for ROTC Students in Alaska
Joseph D. Lento has many years of experience representing students facing allegations of violating Title IX, those subject to ROTC program disenrollment, and other challenges. He will protect your right to due process and work diligently on your behalf to obtain a favorable outcome. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.
Alaska colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your ROTC student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools (schools in bold have either Army or Air Force ROTC programs):
- Alaska Bible College
- Alaska Pacific University
- Charter College Anchorage
- Ilisagvik College
- Prince William Sound Community College
- University of Alaska Anchorage
- University of Alaska Fairbanks
- University of Alaska Southeast
- Wayland Baptist University
All students must be extremely mindful when accused of sexual misconduct at their college or university; ROTC students in particular, however, can have even more concerns at all stage of Title IX proceedings because the stakes are higher yet – When first contacted by their school's Title IX office, when a sexual misconduct investigation begins, when facing a hearing or an appeal, or when seeking further recourse by filing a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For students who are facing a Title IX case and their families, it is critical to take the necessary precautions as soon as possible, including having an experienced attorney advisor, when accused of sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, some students, not being as familiar what is at stake and also their rights in the process, will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," everything will work out. Title IX cases can be won, but students and their families must recognize, however, that achieving a favorable in a Title IX case requires a dedicated and intensive approach best handled by a professional who has a track record of successes in the Title IX disciplinary arena.
Fighting passionately for the future of students at colleges and universities throughout the nation for over a decade, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that a ROTC student's academic future and future commission and military career are at stake. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor to ROTC students facing sexual misconduct investigations, disenrollment proceedings, and disciplinary cases in Alaska and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.