In 1972 the U.S. Department of Education implemented Title IX rules prohibiting sexually-based discrimination at U.S. educational institutions. Certain members of the university administration are assigned to investigate allegations such as those of sexual misconduct. Schools must comply with Title IX guidelines as a condition of their eligibility for federal financial assistance. When allegations are received the school investigates accordingly and may hold a hearing where all parties are present. Those determined to be in violation may face unexpected changes to their academic plans when a suspension or dismissal from the university is ordered. Those accused of such violations should consider speaking with legal counsel. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has substantial experience in assisting with student disciplinary defense.
What Can I Expect at a Hearing?
Federal provisions allow institutions to create their own procedures for hearings. These hearings are not intended to emulate civil or criminal court proceedings. An advisor may accompany a student in a support role at hearings. Those accused who choose to have an attorney function in this role can expect significant benefits. Federal regulators have recently proposed a host of changes to Title IX guidelines, many of which are expected to be implemented in 2019.
How Allegations are Proven
The initially drafted Title IX provisions did not specifically explain what the burden of proof should be for proving allegations. Currently, the standard employed is that allegations must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. The recently proposed federal changes suggest that institutions could consider using a clear and convincing evidence standard. Both of these options are a less difficult standard to satisfy compared to the beyond a reasonable doubt standard used in criminal cases.
Attorney Role in Process
Having a seasoned lawyer assist you is likely to be advantageous in various ways such as:
- Crafting an overall strategy of defense including:
- Opening and closing statements that are clear and substantive
- The ability to more confidently respond to questions that you are likely to be asked
- Gathering strong evidence and possible expert testimony with supporting documentation
- Making sure that your rights are protected throughout the process
- A better capacity to respond to unforeseen developments that may surface during the hearing
- In some situations, cross-examination of accusers and witnesses may be an option (when/if applicable)
- Proper leadership and emotional support
- Your attorney may enter negotiations with Title IX coordinators or other campus administrators at any time during the process
- The attorney will keep abreast on the proposed modifications to the guidelines
Appealing a Ruling
Often the accused student fails to recognize that the sanctions that can potentially be imposed are harsh and choose to simply represent themselves. A better course of action is to speak with an attorney. Those who are unsuccessful will have the option of appealing. The process for an appeal differs according to the school's written procedures. Having an attorney assist you with drafting a highly impactful document is critical. One key problem with the appeals process at most institutions is that the window of time for filing is usually very short.
Title IX Disciplinary Defense Lawyer in North Dakota
Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm have the experience needed to effectively defend students in Title IX disciplinary actions. The allegations and evidence will be properly analyzed with the goal of achieving the most favorable outcome. Students in need of these services are encouraged to contact the office for a consultation at (888) 535-3686.
- Bismarck State College
- Cankdeska Cikana Community College
- Dakota College at Bottineau
- Dickinson State University
- Fort Berthold Community College
- Jamestown College
- Lake Region State College
- Mayville State University
- Minot State University
- North Dakota State College of Science
- North Dakota State University Main Campus
- Sitting Bull College
- Trinity Bible College
- Turtle Mountain Community College
- United Tribes Technical College
- University of Mary
- University of North Dakota
- Valley City State University
- Williston State College
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 North Dakota and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.