Sexual assault and misconduct are major issues at Hawaii colleges and universities. These learning institutions want to make sure that everyone on their campuses remains safe. Because of this, there are federal laws and regulations like Title IX that mandate exactly how Hawaii colleges and universities must respond to sexual misconduct allegations. Laws like Title IX were created to make sure that victims were protected and got the help that they needed.
Unfortunately, hearings and investigations run by colleges and universities are not always fully transparent, leaving defendant students to fend for themselves, often unsuccessfully.
If you're the subject of a Title IX sexual misconduct allegation at a Hawaii college or university, you should know that you have the right to have an attorney-advisor guide you through the entire process. Experienced Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has years of experience defending college employees who have been through exactly what you're going through. He will fight hard to make sure that you have the best defense possible so that you can save your career.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that was created in 1972 to help prevent sexual discrimination at all schools in the United States that accept any type of federal funding. The law applies to K-12 public schools, publicly funded universities and colleges in Hawaii, and private colleges and universities. Although private universities and colleges in Hawaii are not solely funded by the federal government, they do receive federal funds in the form of Pell grants, work-study programs, federal student loans, and research grants. Because these schools receive this federal funding, they are subject to Title IX regulations.
The US Department of Education is very strict when it comes to how Hawaii colleges and universities must respond to Title IX allegations. They have a very specific set of guidelines that the school must follow, and they also insist that both the petitioner and the respondent have protection.
You need to make sure that you retain the services of an attorney-advisor who can help you navigate the Title IX process at your university so that you get the protection you're due.
Does Title IX Apply to Me?
Title IX applies to everyone on campus, including students, professors, administrators, faculty, coaches, resident assistants, and other staff, including part-time staff.
Title IX prohibits all types of sexual misconduct. Some of that misconduct includes the following:.
- Sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
- Domestic violence
- Intimate partner or dating violence
What Does the Title IX Process Look Like?
Under Title IX rules and regulations, all Hawaii colleges and universities must investigate Title IX allegations immediately. Because of this, many Hawaii colleges and universities are extremely heavy-handed when it comes to dealing with the accused students in the case. Universities are not courts of law, so they're not equipped to properly handle Title IX allegations and investigations. This puts the accused student at a big disadvantage.
A Title IX action begins when a complaint is brought to the attention of the Title IX coordinator at your Hawaii university or college. The Title IX coordinator will review the details of the complaint, and they'll make a decision as to whether to go forward with it or dismiss it.
If the Title IX coordinator decides to move ahead with the investigation, they'll notify you and any other respondents that may be a part of the action. Included will be the details regarding the complaint against you, the Title IX violations that you've allegedly committed, and the complainant's name. You will be told of your rights, and the coordinator will also let you know what possible sanctions could come about if you are found guilty. You'll also be told that even if you want no part of the investigation, it will proceed without you.
Don't take this investigation lightly. If you haven't already retained counsel, this is the point where you must. Not taking this seriously can result in you losing everything you've ever worked for and a situation where it will be hard for you to move forward or rebuild.
The Title IX coordinator will then assign an investigator to the action. The investigator will interview you, the petitioner, and any witnesses. They'll also review the evidence. If you are working with an experienced Title IX attorney, that person will be able to examine the evidence and review and find key information that could help your case.
Once the investigator finishes their report, they'll send a copy of it to you and the petitioner. You'll both have a chance to review it and make any changes. Once changes have been made and everyone has signed off, the final report will be sent to the Title IX coordinator.
The next part is the hearing. Title IX hearings allow you to be represented by an attorney advisor if you wish. During that hearing, you or your attorney advisor will have the opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses, present new evidence, and present your own witnesses.
After the hearing, a determination will be made by the committee overseeing the hearing or by the individual overseeing the hearing as to your guilt or innocence. In order to find you guilty, they must find that you are responsible by a "preponderance of the evidence." This is actually a lower bar of proof than the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard used in criminal cases.
Once a determination has been made, both you and the petitioner have an opportunity to appeal the decision. In most cases, you need to appeal within ten business days of the final decision being rendered. The only way that you can actually appeal the final decision is if it's discovered that one of the decision makers was biased against you, new evidence has been uncovered, or there was a mistake in the way the Title IX law was applied.
Work With an Experienced Title IX Advisor
Your career as a Hawaii college or university employee means everything to you. You've worked hard to get where you are. You don't want to let it all slip away because you've been accused of a Title IX violation. You need to defend yourself as strongly as possible, but your understanding of the law, in this case, is most likely limited. If you lose, you could be fired and your record tarnished forever. If you're a student employee, you could be fired and expelled from the school.
Title IX is a complex law that is constantly changing. You need an attorney-advisor on your side who has the experience, the dedication, and the knowledge to be able to fight for you with everything that they've got so that you come out ahead.
Joseph D. Lento and the experienced team at the Lento Law Firm have been fighting for students dealing with Title IX allegations for years. They know exactly what they need to do to provide you with a defense that could save your career and save your future. Call the Lento law firm at 888-535-3686 so that you can find out what your next apps are. Your future will depend on it.
Call the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 to discuss your options.