Did you know that thousands of college and university students annually enter into agreements with the government known as the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC)? Those admitted into these programs can receive tremendous benefits such as scholarships that pay for their college education. These programs require committing to a defined period of military service during which they are eligible to become a commissioned officer in their branch of service.
In Delaware, the Army ROTC curriculum is exclusively offered by the University of Delaware; however, students at several other institutions can participate as a result established “partnership networks.” Some of the key advantages that are available to ROTC students are as follows:
- Students may have their tuition paid for three or four years
- Special Interest Housing funds are awarded annually
- A general scholarship fund that is based on student GPA is now available
- The U.S. Air Force ROTC has now expanded from the University of Delaware to three other institutions in the state
What is Title IX?
Title IX was an amendment established in 1972 to combat sexually-based discrimination in U.S. educational institutions. Compliance is necessary to maintain eligibility for federal education funding. Acts of sexual violence including rape and battery committed against the will of a victim are serious violations of Title IX. These acts involve victims that have not granted consent or are incapable of granting consent to participate in sexual activity.
Acts of sexual harassment are also strictly prohibited, as they create a hostile educational environment for the victim. These acts may be verbal or nonverbal and may include inappropriate slurs or false stereotypes. Other types of harassment include making inappropriate sexual advances or unwelcome appeals for sexual favors. Acts of discrimination often involve denying someone's entry to or right to participate in programs based on their gender or sexual orientation.
Standard of Evidence and Possible Sanctions
The burden of proof in assessing Title IX violations is generally a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Federal guidelines recently were extended to permit the option of employing a “clear and convincing evidence” standard also. Both of these evidentiary standards are a lesser burden than “beyond a reasonable doubt” that applies to criminal matters.
When allegations against a student are proven, they can expect to be suspended or dismissed from the institution. Students in ROTC programs are then also likely to face subsequent disenrollment proceedings. One consequence is that the individual is no longer eligible to become a commissioned officer. They may also be required to complete their active-duty military obligation and to reimburse their scholarship and other benefits received. These may be substantial penalties, as the government has previously ordered reimbursements of $150,000.
Benefits of Having an Experienced Student Rights Attorney
All parties to these actions are permitted to select an advisor to support them in hearings and other proceedings related to Title IX. This also applies to those in the ROTC disenrollment process. Upon being notified of allegations, students should promptly consult with a lawyer. This is important for allowing sufficient time to prepare your defense. This preparation will ensure you are ready to deliver clear statements and effectively respond to questions.
Defense Attorney for ROTC Students in Delaware
Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has been representing students facing allegations of violating Title IX and those subject to ROTC program disenrollment for many years. He strives to aggressively protect your right to due process and best interests. Promptly contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.
Delaware colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your ROTC student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools (schools in bold have Army, Navy, and/or Air Force ROTC programs or are affiliated with schools where students can take ROTC classes):
- Delaware College of Art and Design
- Delaware State University
- Delaware Technical and Community College
- Goldey–Beacom College
- University of Delaware
- Wesley College
- Widener University–Delaware Campus
- Wilmington University
All students must be extremely mindful when accused of sexual misconduct at their college or university; ROTC students in particular, however, can have even more concerns at all stage of Title IX proceedings because the stakes are higher yet – When first contacted by their school's Title IX office, when a sexual misconduct investigation begins, when facing a hearing or an appeal, or when seeking further recourse by filing a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights when necessary. For ROTC students who are facing a Title IX case and their families, it is critical to take the necessary precautions as soon as possible, including having an experienced attorney advisor, when accused of sexual misconduct. Unfortunately, some students, not being as familiar what is at stake and also their rights in the process, will mistakenly believe that if they "just explain what happened," everything will work out. Title IX cases can be won, but students and their families must recognize, however, that achieving a favorable in a Title IX case requires a dedicated and intensive approach best handled by a professional who has a track record of successes in the Title IX disciplinary arena.
Fighting passionately for the future of students at colleges and universities throughout the nation for over a decade, Joseph D. Lento knows how important it is to mount the strongest defense because he understands that an ROTC student's academic future and future commission and military career is at stake. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor to students facing sexual misconduct investigations, disenrollment proceedings,and disciplinary cases in Delaware and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.