Complaints received by campus administrators that relate to sexual misconduct are handled in accordance with federal Title IX guidelines. Designated members of the university will promptly conduct an inquiry. If the allegations are supported by sufficient evidence, the disciplinary process will continue and ultimately lead to a hearing. At this hearing, the student has an opportunity to challenge the claims. A key aspect of the Title IX process is that all parties are to be treated fairly. Often students who are accused find that their rights to due process are overlooked and they are encouraged to seek legal counsel. Joseph D. Lento is an attorney will significant experience in this area of practice and will aggressively defend his clients.
What is Title IX?
Complaints that are commonly associated with Title IX include sexual harassment, assault, and related types of misconduct. Colleges and universities who fail to comply with these guidelines may risk having their access to federal education funds revoked. Each school establishes a formal process for investigation and procedures leading to disciplinary action. Oversight of Title IX is conducted by the U.S. Department of Education's division of the Office of Civil Rights.
University Procedural Requirements
There are some basic written guidelines outlining the disciplinary process at colleges and universities. Some of these include the following:
- The written provisions (in their entirety) should be available to all students
- The guidelines pertain to allegations of sexual misconduct against students, staff, and others on the campus
- All of the parties involved may present evidence and relevant witness testimony
- The administration has a responsibility to ensure the process is conducted in a “reasonably prompt time frame”
- All parties must be formally notified of rulings concurrently
The administration may impose sanctions and penalties that are published in their annual safety report. Potential disciplinary sanctions include placing the student on probation, imposing a suspension, or dismissal from the university. If a hearing results in an adverse outcome and the necessary grounds are met, such as procedural error, new evidence, and/or excessive sanction, an appeal can be submitted which will allow the decision to be re-considered. That being said, an appeal should only be considered as a last resort because the steps must be taken as early as possible in advance of a hearing to achieve a favorable outcome at the hearing itself.
Importance of Retaining Legal Representation
Students facing allegations should consider consulting with an attorney. The attorney will be able to objectively review the details of the complaint and relevant evidence while developing a comprehensive defense strategy. Your attorney may engage in negotiations with the administration at any time during the process. Other potential evidence that supports your defense may include witness or expert testimony. With help from an attorney, you may be better prepared to confidently respond to the questions that are likely to be asked at the hearing.
Attorney Role at the Hearing
Your attorney will help with the critical process of preparing for the hearing. It is important that you deliver impactful opening and closing statements. Based on the format of the hearing, there may be an opportunity to cross-examine adverse parties. Your lawyer will seek to ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the proceedings and also should enable you to better respond when unforeseen developments occur.
Lawyer Defends Students in Montana in Title IX Disciplinary Actions
Are you a student that is currently facing allegations of misconduct that violate Title IX provisions? Because of the potential for long-term ramifications, it is best to have sound legal assistance. Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm know how to effectively challenge such claims. Contact the office today for a consultation at (888) 535-3686.
- Blackfeet Community College
- Carroll College
- Chief Dull Knife College
- Dawson Community College
- Flathead Valley Community College
- Fort Belknap College
- Fort Peck Community College
- Little Big Horn College
- Miles Community College
- Montana State University
- Montana State University Billings
- Montana State University Great Falls College of Technology
- Montana State University Northern
- Montana Tech of the University of Montana
- Montana Tech College of Technology
- Rocky Mountain College
- Salish Kootenai College
- Stone Child College
- The University of Montana
- The University of Montana Western
- University of Great Falls
- University of Montana Helena College of Technology
Winning a Title IX hearing can mean the difference between achieving one's academic and professional goals or having these goals upended. When accused of sexual misconduct, it is critical to not take the matter lightly and to instead vigorously defend against the allegations. Title IX cases can be won, and Joseph D. Lento has a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at colleges and universities throughout the nation and winning. 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 and New Jersey, 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 and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in Montana and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.