What Is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal statute that was enacted in 1972. Under Title IX, all schools that receive government funding cannot discriminate against students or employees based on their sex. The most well-known result of Title IX was the increase in the attendance and opportunity of college athletics for women. The difference was vast at first, with 170,000 men being student-athletes compared to 30,000 women. This changed significantly as time passed, where opportunities in athletics are almost even between males and females. The power of Title IX does not just reside in female athletics. Title IX ensures that there is no sex discrimination permitted in schools. If an individual feels discriminated against or harmed because of their gender, then they can file a Title IX claim.
What Types of Claims Are Title IX Claims?
Title IX is a law that protects people from unfair treatment based on gender.
Title IX also covers claims related to sexual violence or harassment. If someone has been harmed due to a Title IX violation, then a complaint can be filed with the school regarding the alleged incident. Title IX requires schools to investigate complaints to determine if rules have been violated. If the school finds that a Title IX violation took place, then the school will determine what punishment to levy. Title IX investigations are meant to determine whether gender-based discrimination or harm took place, not to determine if any criminal laws were broken. Criminal cases can also be filed if the alleged Title IX violation is also a criminal offense, but cases would process independently.
Who Can Face a Title IX Claim?
Any person who is affiliated with a school that gets any type of federal money can be in danger of a Title IX claim. Title IX is meant to protect people who have any dealings with a school from discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. Those involved in a Title IX claim can be students, parents, employees, and school applicants. If you are a professor or other employee at a college or university, then you might face a Title IX claim if someone claims you discriminated against them. Research assistants and teacher's assistants can also face Title IX claims which might stop them from getting their degrees if they are found responsible. A Title IX claim can be detrimental to your career if you are found responsible, so it is important to get experienced legal help.
Title IX Grievance Process Overview
Over time, the enforcement and requirements of Title IX have changed. Title IX currently requires schools to investigate claims made at their colleges and universities. The investigation requirements include:
- A written notice of accusations is provided to both parties along with the opportunity to retain counsel
- Both parties are allowed to introduce and review evidence that is collected during a Title inquiry
- Title IX investigators who are trained must neutrally analyze and assess any accusations
- Medical records can only be examined upon written consent
- Informal resolutions can only be visited upon written consent
- If someone is said to have committed a Title IX violation, then they are given the presumption of innocence
- Each school can choose whether to use the “preponderance of evidence” standard or a “clear and convincing evidence” standard as the legal burden of proof
- The investigator and decision-maker must be separate parties
- Schools are required to hold live hearings and permit cross-examination of any testifying witnesses
- K-12 schools are not required to hold live hearings under Title IX but must give the parties the chance to submit written questions for the other side to answer
- Alleged sexual assault victims are protected by rape-shield laws
- All findings must be in writing and be sent to both sides of the case, including an explanation of the findings
- Both sides have the right to appeal
This process can be daunting and complex; it is important that you understand how the rules work if you plan to successfully defend your case.
How an Attorney-Advisor Helps
If you are being accused of a Title IX violation at your Tennessee college or university, then an attorney-advisor can assist you in many ways, including:
- Separation: Separation from an investigation can be very helpful. Your statements can be used against you in various ways. Seek an attorney-advisor's counsel before you speak to anyone regarding an investigation.
- Investigation: An independent investigation can uncover evidence missed by school investigators. These investigations can include scene visits, witness interviews, and forensic analysis. The information and evidence that is found through these investigations can be critical to your defense.
- Negotiation: If you decide that you want to resolve your case with a deal, then an attorney-advisor can help you do so. An agreement can resolve your case, along with any other pending claims and set a predetermined punishment. Resolutions by negotiation take much less time than cases that go through a full hearing.
- Representation: Having experienced representation when facing a Title IX grievance can be all the difference in your case. It is your responsibility that law and procedure are followed even if you represent yourself.
Make sure you have experienced assistance if you are facing allegations at a Tennessee school. If you have questions, then call us at the Lento Law Firm!
Why Hiring Lento Law Is the Right Choice
If you have questions related to a Title IX violation allegation at a college or university in Tennessee, then it is important to seek the advice of an experienced attorney-advisor. Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento has helped college employees across the country with various legal issues. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring the Lento Law Firm is the right choice to help you with your case.