Each year, thousands of college and university students agree with the government known as the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). Those participating in the program may qualify for tremendous benefits such as scholarships that pay for their college education. These students are committing to a specified period of military service and are eligible to become a commissioned officer in their branch of service.
Several South Dakota schools currently offer Army and Air Force ROTC programs. Some of the benefits that a student may qualify for include the following:
- ROTC coursework always qualifies for academic credit
- Programs that offer free campus housing
- Renewable annual scholarship programs
- Eligibility for a Military Science minor
What is Title IX?
Established in 1972, Title IX sought to address sexually-based discrimination in U.S. educational institutions. Compliance is necessary for retaining eligibility for federal education funding. Rape, battery, and other acts of sexual violence committed against the will of a victim are among the most serious violations. These actions are committed against a victim that either has not granted consent or is incapable of granting consent to participate in sexual activity.
Acts of sexual harassment may be committed either verbally or nonverbally. Victims are often placed in a hostile educational environment that results from slurs or false stereotypes. Discrimination may involve any attempt to deny entrance to participate in programs or impede access to benefits based on someone's gender or sexual orientation. Other examples of violations include making inappropriate sexual advances or requests for sexual favors.
Standards of Proof and Possible Sanctions
Title IX violations are typically assessed in a hearing that applies a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. Recent federal provisions were modified to also allow for using a “clear and convincing evidence” standard. Both standards are lesser than “beyond a reasonable doubt” that applies in criminal cases.
If the claim of misconduct is proven, the student will likely be suspended or dismissed from the institution. ROTC students are then also subject to disenrollment proceedings. Those ousted from the program become ineligible for receiving an officer commission. They may be ordered to complete their active-duty service commitment and to repay their scholarship and other financial benefits received. These consequences can be substantial, as the government has previously ordered reimbursements of up to $150,000.
Why Retain a Student Rights Attorney?
Parties are typically permitted to choose an advisor that will support them in hearings and other Title IX proceedings. This also applies to the ROTC disenrollment process. Students that become aware that they are the subject of allegations must promptly consult with a lawyer. This timing is critical to allow for sufficient preparation time so you can deliver clear statements and effectively respond to questions.
Experienced Defense Advisor for ROTC Students in South Dakota
Joseph D. Lento has years of experience defending students facing allegations of violating Title IX, those subject to ROTC program disenrollment, and other challenges. He will safeguard your right to due process and be an advocate for your best interests. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for assistance.
South Dakota 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):
- Augustana College
- Black Hills State University
- Colorado Technical University Sioux Falls
- Dakota State University
- Dakota Wesleyan University
- Globe University Sioux Falls
- Kilian Community College
- Lake Area Technical Institute
- Mitchell Technical Institute
- Mount Marty College
- National American University Ellsworth AFB Extension
- National American University Rapid City
- National American University Sioux Falls
- Northern State University
- Oglala Lakota College
- Presentation College
- Sinte Gleska University
- Sisseton Wahpeton College
- South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
- South Dakota State University
- Southeast Technical Institute
- University of Sioux Falls
- University of South Dakota
- Western Dakota Technical Institute
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 South Dakota and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.