Title IX Advisor for College Employees - Alabama

If you're a university employee, sexual misconduct is among the most serious kinds of allegations you can face. Your career is on the line. Once you've been dismissed from one school, you can't expect that others will hire you. Yet, defending yourself won't be easy. Title IX procedures are complex and difficult to navigate. Worse, your school is probably going to do everything it can to find you responsible (guilty). After all, in today's political climate, colleges can't afford to look soft on alleged offenders.

You can fight to salvage your reputation and your future, but you're going to need help. Luckily, the law entitles you to that help. Title IX guarantees respondents (the accused) the right to select an advisor, and that advisor can be an attorney. Choose wisely, though. A Title IX attorney—someone who knows the law and has experience with campus judicial procedures—is going to give you the best chance to defend yourself successfully.

A Brief History of Title IX

Most college and university sexual misconduct allegations are dealt with using Title IX, a federal law passed in 1972 that prohibits sexual discrimination in US education programs. The text of the law reads

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

In the beginning, “discrimination” was a relatively straightforward term. Essentially, the law worked to keep schools from treating women differently from men, particularly in terms of access to classroom resources. Over the last fifty years, however, “discrimination” has also come to refer to “harassment,” and the term “harassment” now includes a whole range of sexual misconduct, from stalking to sexual assault and even rape.

The problem with this evolution is that schools are now in the position of making judicial decisions about these weighty matters, a situation they're simply not equipped to handle. The fact is, when physics professors and English teaching assistants are asked to do the job of judges and juries, the outcomes aren't always fair and just.

The Trump administration stepped into the fray in 2020, issuing a set of guidelines it called the Final Rule. These guidelines were meant to dictate how schools investigate and adjudicate Title IX cases, and they offer important due process protections to respondents. Unfortunately, the Final Rule hasn't turned out to be as “final” as its name suggests. President Biden's Department of Education has issued instructions designed to undermine many of the Final Rule's provisions, and Biden himself has promised to repeal the guidelines entirely. The only definitive thing that can really be said about Title IX, then, is that its future remains in constant flux, subject to which political party happens to be in power.

How Title IX Works

For now, the Final Rule does offer some stability to the investigative process and some important rights to the accused.

  1. Your school has a designated Title IX Coordinator. All faculty and staff may be required to report any knowledge of sexual misconduct, but only a Complainant (the alleged victim) or the Coordinator can sign an official complaint against you.
  2. If the Coordinator does sign a complaint, they must provide you with written notice that you're being investigated. This notice must include the name of the Complainant and details of the allegation. In addition, it must apprise you of your rights, such as the right to be presumed “not responsible” and the right to an advisor, who may be an attorney.
  3. The Coordinator appoints the case Investigator. This person meets with both sides in the case and collects evidence, including witness testimony.
  4. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator submits an unbiased summary of their findings. Both sides have the right to review this document and suggest revisions to any inaccurate information.
  5. Once the Coordinator receives the Investigative Report, they set a time and date for a hearing. They also select one or more Decision Makers to preside over the case.
  6. The hearing must be live. However, either side in the case may request it be held via closed-circuit video.
  7. The hearing offers both sides the chance to make arguments, present evidence, and call witnesses. In addition, you may cross-examine one another and any witnesses against you.
  8. Decision Makers are tasked with determining whether or not you are responsible for a violation. In doing so, they apply a legal standard known as “preponderance of evidence.” Less strict than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” this standard essentially requires they find you responsible if they believe it is “more likely than not” that you committed an offense. If multiple Decision Makers preside over the case, the decision is based on the majority opinion.
  9. Both sides have the right to appeal the outcome of the hearing. However, you'll have only a limited amount of time to file this appeal, and you can only file it for very specific reasons, such as the discovery of new evidence or the revelation of procedural misconduct.

How Can Joseph D. Lento Help?

The university you work for doesn't have the power to send you to jail. In fact, it may tell you that the consequences if you're found responsible can include sanctions like verbal and written warnings or mandated counseling. Don't be fooled. The most likely outcome is that you lose your job. With that much on the line, and with so many elements of the process against you, you can't afford to try and handle your case alone. You need someone who understands the intricacies of Title IX and who has experience helping clients defend themselves against charges.

Joseph D. Lento is a fully-licensed, fully-qualified defense attorney, but he isn't just any defense attorney. Joseph D. Lento is what's known as a Title IX attorney. That means he built his practice defending clients from Title IX allegations. He's spent his entire career studying the law. He knows its history and how it's changed over time. He keeps track of the political shifts that can affect how it is applied. Whether you've been charged with simple verbal harassment or with date rape, Joseph D. Lento knows how to use the law to your advantage.

If you've been accused of sexual misconduct at an Alabama college or university, trust an attorney with a proven record of defending clients in Title IX cases. Contact the Lento Law Firm's Alabama offices today at 888-555-3686 or use our automated online form.

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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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