From Biloxi to Jackson, Starkville, and Oxford, there is no corner of Mississippi free from Title IX regulations. And there are very few Mississippi college employees immune from the havoc that a Title IX allegation can cause.
The amendment Title IX covers a broad range of gender-related offenses, from discrimination to harassment and even sexual violence. If you are facing any accusation that falls under Title IX, the quality of your defense could shape your immediate and long-term future.
Hire an experienced Title IX advisor to seek the best possible outcome for your case.
How Title IX Applies to Mississippi College Employees
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., more casually known as “Title IX,” governs any private or public educational institution receiving federal funding. The vast majority of colleges and universities in The Magnolia State adhere to Title IX rules and procedures.
As the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) comprehensive outline of Title IX explains, college employees may face Title IX-specific adjudication procedures if they're accused of:
- Discrimination based on someone's gender
- Issuing unfair or punitive measures based on someone's gender
- Retaliating against someone who has filed a Title IX complaint
- Harassing someone, particularly if there is a male-female dynamic involved
- Engaging in any form of sexual misconduct
The U.S. Department of Education sometimes refers to Title IX offenses as “sex discrimination.” If someone believes that they've been treated unacceptably and that their gender or sex plays a role in the mistreatment, then they may file a Title IX complaint with your college's Title IX Coordinator.
Anyone who qualifies as a university employee may be subject to the Title IX disciplinary process, including:
- Tenured professors
- Non-tenured professors
- Adjunct faculty
- Teaching assistants
- Administrators (of all levels)
- IT professionals
- Health staff
- Resident advisors
Your university should make it clear whether you'll be the subject of a Title IX investigation. If it has not made this clear, the Lento Law Firm can contact your employer and clarify the matter.
It's a safe bet that most colleges in Mississippi will initiate the Title IX disciplinary process if they've received a qualifying complaint about you. Schools may fear litigation if they don't take such steps. Our team can help you prepare for the process ahead.
How Colleges and Universities in Mississippi Generally Handle Title IX Complaints Against College Employees
There is no single blueprint for completing the Title IX disciplinary process, though there are common practices. The University of Mississippi may have a slightly different process than Jackson State—actually, the process could vary slightly even between two cases at the same university.
Based on our experience defending college employees from Title IX allegations, you can generally expect:
- To receive notice of the allegations against you: If the Title IX Coordinator at your school finds sufficient grounds, they will approve an investigation into the complaint against you. Before this investigation begins, you should receive notice of the complaint and other information related to your case.
- To face questions from an investigator: You generally have the right to counsel during the investigative process, and we strongly advise that you exercise the right. You truly never know what the investigator's credentials or motives will be, and it's prudent to have an advisor protecting you against malfeasance.
- Some sort of hearing: We say “some sort” of hearing because the hearing process can look far different in each case. The Title IX hearing process may not resemble a courtroom setting as you might imagine, but rather something far less official. Again, it is critical to have an advisor by your side to ensure you're treated fairly.
- The right to appeal: You generally have ten days to file an appeal after the Title IX panel reviews and rules on your case.
One or more of these steps may not be necessary. Each Title IX case is its own entity, with unique allegations, accusers, Title IX coordinators, and hearing committees. We may be able to reach an informal resolution before a hearing becomes necessary.
What Happens If I Fail to Defend Myself From a Title IX Allegation in Mississippi?
You may have fond feelings for the school that employs you, but you must know: The university represents itself. Representatives of the university will likely consider the institution's reputation over your own and may not hesitate to issue a ruling that protects its own skin—even if that ruling falls out of line with the facts of your case.
If you do not retain a capable advisor to lead your defense against a Title IX allegation, then you may:
- Quickly find that a Title IX coordinator, investigator, or hearing panel has a clear bias against you
- Be vulnerable to your words and actions being misrepresented or manipulated
- Lose your case, and have little time or knowledge to organize an effective appeal before the deadline
If you do lose your case, fail to appeal successfully, and don't take necessary legal action to remedy the situation, you may sacrifice a whole lot. Your current job, prospects for attaining similar jobs in the future, and professional ambitions may be history. Furthermore, the stigma of a sudden termination could cause serious personal problems, including but not limited to mental health struggles.
A Title IX case, as you see, is about far more than a single job—though it is about that. A Title IX allegation has the capacity to throw your entire life out of order, which is why it's critical you act now to defend yourself.
What to Do Now: Hire a Title IX Advisor From the Lento Law Firm
The Lento Law Firm continues to invest great time and resources into defending college employees against Title IX accusations. We've seen the burden of proof in Title IX cases lowered and the ease of filing baseless claims made even greater. We won't allow your career and personal life to suffer without a fight.
Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to discuss your case, or provide your case details online.