In 2019, the U.S. Navy joined the Army and Air Force in establishing a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) in Hawaii. Students that are admitted to ROTC programs are making a military service commitment for a defined period. In exchange, these students benefit from superior leadership training, receive tremendous financial assistance for their education, have the opportunity to be a commissioned officer and more.
What is Title IX?
Title IX was implemented in 1972 by the U.S. Department of Education as an amendment to address concerns with sexually-based discrimination in all U.S. schools. All of these institutions are tasked with creating a process that promptly and equitably manages allegations of possible sexual misconduct. Students that are determined to have committed violations of Title IX are likely to face suspension or be dismissed from their school.
Acts of discrimination may occur in various areas in a college or university setting including admissions, athletics, accessing benefits, and more. Sexual harassment is strictly prohibited, as it creates a hostile environment that is not conducive to learning. These acts may include inappropriate appeals for sexual favors or unwelcome advances.
Gender-based harassment is also a violation of Title IX and may involve verbal communication that is discriminatory or intimidating. The perpetrators may make slurs or promote stereotypes that are related to a “student's actual or perceived sex.” Some of the most serious violations are those involving sexual violence such as assault or coercion.
Overview of Title IX Process
After receiving a complaint, college or university administrators will investigate. If they believe that the evidence supports the allegations, they will summon all parties to a hearing. Students can choose an advisor that will support and accompany them to these and other proceedings. Students accused of such violations must retain an experienced student rights attorney to function in this role.
Your attorney will accurately interpret your school's specific procedures, analyze all evidence, and ensure your rights to due process. He or she will assist to prepare you to deliver clear statements and effective responses to questions. A “preponderance of the evidence” standard is generally used in these matters.
ROTC Disenrollment and Title IX
Acts that violate Title IX are generally also a breach of the terms of ROTC program contracts. Students that are determined to have committed a violation can expect to subsequently face the disenrollment process.
Student Rights in the Army ROTC Disenrollment Process (145-4)
Students are afforded many basic rights when they are subject to the disenrollment process. Some of these that pertain specifically to the U.S. Army are as follows:
- A “board of officers or investigating officer will review and investigate the circumstances”
- Those subject to disenrollment are afforded “reasonable notice” to allow for sufficient preparation time
- Students have a right to receive all “documentary evidence that supports the disenrollment action”
- They are afforded a “right to appear personally” to hear and challenge the allegations before the designated officer or board
- They have a right to call witnesses to testify in a hearing
- If a student wishes to appeal an adverse ruling, a request must be submitted in writing within 14 days
Hawaii ROTC Student Rights Advisor
Title IX guidelines and the provisions related to the ROTC disenrollment process are complex and are subject to change. This makes it critical to choose an attorney that regularly practices in the field of student rights and is familiar with military law. Contact Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today at (888) 535-3686 for assistance.
Hawaii 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):
- Argosy University Hawaii
- Brigham Young University Hawaii
- Chaminade University of Honolulu
- Hawaii Community College
- Hawaii Pacific University
- Heald College Honolulu
- Honolulu Community College
- Kapiolani Community College
- Kauai Community College
- Leeward Community College
- New Hope Christian College
- Remington College Honolulu Campus
- University of Hawaii at Hilo
- University of Hawaii at Manoa
- University of Hawaii Maui College
- University of Hawaii West Oahu
- University of Phoenix Hawaii Campus
- Windward Community College
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 Hawaii and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.