Rumors of sexual misconduct can threaten the careers of the most respected college faculty and staff members in California. Outright allegations can lead to Title IX investigations. Educational institutions are required to respond to these kinds of allegations quickly. This often leads to a knee-jerk reaction from administrators hoping to avoid bad press for their university or college. That's why it's so important that faculty members accused of Title IX violations take action just as fast.
California faculty members facing accusations of Title IX violations may see their careers and public reputation suffer consequences. Dreams of achieving tenure status may be dashed in an instant. In some cases, a faculty member may even struggle to find new opportunities at other California institutions. With your career on the line, it's vital that you find an experienced Title IX advisor to guide you through the hearing process.
Title IX in California Colleges and Universities
Federal laws – including Title IX – were created to protect students after instances of sexual misconduct. In California, we see a number of news stories that focus on complaints by students about students. The reality is that Title IX also covers allegations against faculty and staff, too. Colleges and universities are required by the U.S. Department of Education to investigate any such Title IX complaints.
Title IX complaints must originate with the academic institution's Title IX Coordinator. Only complainants or the school's official Title IX Coordinator can sign off on such a complaint. Once allegations have been officially documented, the Title IX Coordinator must notify the respondent. Details of the allegations and the name of the complainant must be shared. The notice must also inform the respondent of their Title IX rights, including the guarantee to be presumed “not responsible.” Respondents also have the right to appoint an advisor to represent them throughout the Title IX proceedings.
The next step is the investigation. The Title IX Coordinator chooses an investigator to meet with both parties to officially document their statements. Physical evidence must be collected, and witnesses should be interviewed. Once the investigation portion of the Title IX proceedings is complete, the investigator is required to write a report of their findings. Complainants and respondents then have the chance to read the report and suggest changes before it is sent to the Title IX Coordinator.
After the investigative phase, the decision-making process starts. University and collegiate employees are entitled to defend themselves at a hearing. Both the respondent and complainants are represented by advisors, who have the option to introduce evidence and call witnesses. Cross examination is also possible during this phase.
Hearings are typically overseen by a sole decision-maker or by a panel. They almost always look for a “preponderance of evidence” when making their decision. This is far less strict a standard than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” threshold that most people are familiar with. A “preponderance of evidence” requires decision-makers to be at least 51 percent convinced that a Title IX violation was indeed committed.
Both the respondent and complainant will have the opportunity to appeal the findings of the decision-maker. Requests for appeals must be made within 10 days. The caveat? Appeals are only allowed when new evidence is introduced, a mistake in the Title IX procedures has occurred, or if there was obvious bias on behalf of Title IX officials.
What's at Stake for California Faculty and Staff
Any California faculty or staff member – including coaches, professors, teaching assistants, security officials, transportation professionals, and maintenance workers – may be subject to Title IX allegations and proceedings. Even if the accusations are entirely baseless, professionals may see their reputations in jeopardy. Tenure track professors may see their entire future go up in smoke. Those found responsible for misconduct are often fired. They may struggle to find new opportunities in their field. Given how much is on the line, it's crucial that you seek out the expertise of a California Title IX advisor.
While we'd like to assume that colleges and universities in California are passionate about the pursuit of justice, that's often not the case. Academic institutions are eager to protect their image and may throw the book at any employee accused of misconduct. The financial impact is another factor. The Department of Education has been known to strip funding from schools that fail to respond to Title IX violations. Given how damaging an accusation of sexual misconduct can be, it's important to seek representation in the face of such allegations.
Get Help From Attorney Joseph D. Lento
When your entire professional future is on the line, it's important to take action. Title IX rules are constantly evolving, so you'll want an expert on your side to help navigate your best route to justice. Attorney Joseph D. Lento is that expert.
Every day, Joseph D. Lento works with students, administrators, faculty, and staff throughout California to understand allegations, negotiate fair outcomes, and fight for his clients' reputations. Whether you're aiming to prove your innocence or protect your future career, Joseph D. Lento is the right advocate for the job.
If you're facing accusations of sexual misconduct as a California college or university employee, don't wait to take action. Your employer may already be building a case against you. By scheduling a consultation with the Lento Law Firm, you take the first step in clearing your name.
Contact an Experienced California Title IX Advisor Today
California college or university employees deserve a fair shot at defending their reputations. If you've been accused of misconduct or sexual assault, seek the advice of an expert. Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento is the advocate you need. Contact him today at 888-535-3686.