Allegations of sexual misconduct can jeopardize the careers of even the most accomplished professionals. Current social mores demand that colleges and universities respond to such allegations as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. Failure to respond can result in poor press for the institution and a bad reputation for all involved. For these reasons – and many more – it's crucial that faculty members who are accused of such violations take Title IX seriously.
Faculty members accused of Title IX violations often see their livelihood and reputation suffer. A discrimination complaint can dash any hopes you might have had about achieving tenure status. In more extreme cases, you may even find it difficult to find an institution willing to hire you after such allegations. Given how much is on the line, it's important to find an experienced Title IX advisor to assist with your defense.
How Title IX Applies to Faculty and Staff
Title IX is a federal law designed to protect students following alleged acts of sexual misconduct. While many national news stories center around Title IX complaints made by students against their peers, faculty and staff may also face allegations in Title IX complaints. The U.S. Department of Education requires universities and colleges to investigate Title IX complaints any time a student alleges that their rights have been violated.
Official complaints originate with an institution's Title IX Coordinator. Only complainants or the school's official Title IX Coordinator may sign this kind of complaint. After allegations have been levied, the Title IX Coordinator is required to notify the respondent of the charges. The name of the complainant and details of the allegation must be shared at this time. The notice should also inform the respondent of their rights under Title IX. One such right? The guarantee to be presumed “not responsible.” The respondent also has the right to choose an advisor to represent them throughout the Title IX investigation and ensuing hearing.
Next, the investigation begins. The coordinator selects an investigator to meet with both parties to get their side of the story on record. Physical evidence is collected, and witnesses are interviewed. After the investigation concludes, the investigator then writes a detailed report of their findings. Both the complainant and the respondent will have a chance to read through the report and suggest any changes before it's forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator.
Following the investigative phase, a decision-making phase begins. Respondents at the college and university level are entitled to defend themselves at a hearing. Both sides are typically represented by their advisors, who can introduce evidence and call witnesses. Both the respondent and complainant have the option to cross-examine each other and any witnesses.
The hearing may be overseen by a sole decision-maker or a panel. Decision-makers look to a “preponderance of evidence” standard when making their decision. Far less strict than the standard “beyond a reasonable doubt” philosophy, so many of us are familiar with, “preponderance of evidence” asks decision-makers to be just over 50 percent convinced that a violation was committed.
Both sides have the chance to appeal any of the decision-maker's findings, but there's typically only a ten-day window for filing such an appeal. Appeals may only be filed if new evidence has been discovered, a mistake in Title IX procedures has occurred, or if there is obvious bias on the part of Title IX officials.
What's At Risk
Coaches, professors, graduate assistants, teaching assistants, and other staff may face long-lasting consequences following Title IX allegations. Even the most baseless rumors can permanently damage professional reputations and jeopardize tenured positions. Those found responsible for misconduct may be fired and even struggle to find new opportunities in their field. With so much at stake, it's important to seek out the expertise of an advisor who is knowledgeable about Title IX and employment law.
It's easy to assume that schools are fair, equitable institutions interested in the pursuit of justice. In reality, academic institutions are typically eager to throw the book at employees accused of misconduct, so they don't attract any bad press. There's also the financial impact to consider – the Department of Education has threatened to strip funding from schools that fail to adequately respond to Title IX violations. False accusations can be incredibly damaging for all involved, which is why it's so important to seek your own representation after such allegations have been levied.
How Joseph D. Lento Can Help
Title IX is undeniably formidable. With your entire future at risk, it can be incredibly frustrating to fight for your reputation under rules that seem to constantly change.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento can make all the difference in your case. After building a career on Title IX cases, he's learned a thing or two about the law and its application in the academic setting. Each day, Joseph D. Lento talks with students, faculty, and administrators to negotiate fair outcomes and fight for his clients' rights. Regardless of whether you're hoping to prove your innocence or salvage your professional reputation, Joseph D. Lento is the advocate you need.
If you've been accused of sexual misconduct as a college or university employee, it's important to take action as soon as possible. Your institution is likely already preparing a case against you. By calling the Lento Law Firm, you take the first step in defending your good name.
Count on an Experienced Title IX Advisor
If you work at a college or university and have been accused of sexual assault or misconduct, it's important to seek the guidance of an expert. Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento is dedicated to protecting your best interests. Contact him today at 888-535-3686.