Title IX Advisor – Rhode Island College Employees

Rhode Island college and university employees accused of Title IX violations undergo one of the most demanding, dire situations of their careers. Infractions managed by a school's Title IX policy garner more strict procedures than research misconduct or failure to meet contractual obligations, given its supervision by the federal government through an institution's funding streams. Schools are compelled to act quickly and punish harshly; therefore, if you're a college employee accused of Title IX misconduct in Rhode Island, you must take the situation seriously.

The grievance process addressing Title IX allegations is taxing for college employees. Yet, they have the right to choose an advisor to assist them in the investigative, hearing, and appeals processes. That advisor can be—and should be—an experienced Title IX advisor that can protect your reputation and career in education.

How Does Title IX Work?

Congress passed Title IX legislation in 1972 prohibiting sex and gender-based discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal funding. The civil rights law remains the primary method by which institutions of higher education discipline sexual misconduct allegations. Title IX regulations also cover:

  • Bullying
  • Coercion
  • Dating/Domestic violence
  • False report of Title IX violation
  • Hazing
  • Stalking
  • Sexual assault, discrimination, and exploitation
  • Withholding Title IX evidence or information

Although Title IX's federal purview applies to K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, the law also manages violations in various workshops and training programs. Rhode Island college instructors, coaches, faculty, and staff are often hired to lead or assist in community events and activities, relying on their teaching and expertise. Even though the following may not be school or college-sponsored events, Title IX will still apply to activities such as:

  • Boater safety courses sponsored by county parks and recreation departments receiving funds from the U.S. Coast Guard
  • Community gardening workshops funded by the Department of Agriculture
  • Local sports teams managed by county parks and recreations department receiving funding from the Department of the Interior

Title IX Restructuring

Title IX hearing procedures are structured to provide both the complainant and respondent the opportunity to defend themselves against false accusations and ensure their accounts are heard. However, Trump-era enforcement guidelines like in-person formal hearings, official reporting channels, cross-examination, and the right to have an outside advisor present during the hearing are scheduled to be rolled back by the Biden Administration.

Moreover, the Department of Justice has updated the language of Title IX to "fully enforce civil rights laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation," per a White House press release.

Title IX Reporting Requirements for Rhode Island College Employees

Colleges and universities in Rhode Island and elsewhere have mandatory reporting requirements for most employees under Title IX. The school may designate some faculty, staff, and student employees as official reporting resources, known by the Clery Act as "responsible employees." Reporting requirements vary by school, but information regarding obligations will be found in a school's employee or faculty handbook or student code of conduct.

Exemptions to the rule exist, however. Some employees are not considered mandated reporters but are "confidential resources." Typically, these include university counselors, pastors, and student health providers. Yet, any college employee vested with the authority to take corrective action will be obliged to report allegations to the school's Title IX Coordinator.

According to Brown University, responsible employees include:

  • All deans, department heads, and faculty
  • All staff with supervisory duties over employees and/or students
  • Student employees and those in leadership positions, including peer leaders, resident advisors, training and athletics volunteers, and student government members

How Does the Title IX Grievance Process Work?

Once an allegation is reported to the school's Title IX Coordinator, the institution will have "actual knowledge" of the incident, thus triggering the grievance process. While schools and programs have different timeframes for process phases—notices of investigations and hearings, response to evidence, appeals—most proceed similarly.

At Rhode Island College, the investigation phase proceeds as follows:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator contacts the complainant (accuser) to discuss the allegations and offer supportive measures.
  2. Within five business days of receiving the formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator informs the respondent (accused) about the allegations and explains their rights, including the right to be presumed "not responsible" and to choose an advisor.
  3. An investigator is assigned to gather evidence on the incident by interviewing the complainant, respondent, and witnesses involved. The college states the investigation will be completed within 90 calendar days of the formal complaint, but institutions often strive to finish in as little as one week.

The Title IX Coordinator will send the final investigative report to each party within ten business days for the chance to submit a written response.

The hearing phase will proceed as follows:

  1. The hearing officer will conduct a pre-hearing conference with the parties and their advisors to discuss the procedures and resolve any other matters, including aspects of conflict of interest, before the hearing.
  2. The complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to make an opening statement.
  3. The hearing officer will permit each party or advisor to cross-examine the other party and witnesses.
  4. A series of questioning may be initiated at the behest of the hearing officer.
  5. The complainant and respondent make closing remarks.

Following the hearing, the hearing officer decides responsibility on the "preponderance of the evidence," meaning greater than 50 percent convinced.

Within 14 business days of the hearing, the school administration will send both parties a written response regarding the hearing conclusions, a statement and rationale for the result of each allegation, and imposed sanctions.

Title IX Consequences for Rhode Island College Employees

Punishes are severe if a college employee is found responsible for Title IX misconduct. Providence College details its sanctions as:

  • Loss of privileges
  • Mandatory training
  • No-contact directive
  • Demotion
  • Non-renewal of a contract or non-reappointment
  • Dismissal

Consequences from Title IX misconduct will follow a college employee long after the process ends. For instance, Title IX violators will have the offense detailed on their employee records, making it nearly impossible to gain employment with another college or university.

Punishments also interfere with obtaining federal financial aid and make some ineligible for professional licenses and jobs. Even though the severity of sanctions may overwhelm a college employee, there are options to defend yourself further.

Appeals Procedure for Title IX Violations

Johnson & Wales University details that parties will be offered to make a one-time appeal of the determination within five calendar days of the hearing conclusion. There are a limited number of situations that fulfill appeal requirements, including:

  1. Procedural irregularities affected the outcome of the hearing.
  2. New evidence emerges that will significantly impact the outcome.
  3. The adjudicatory process lacked due process, or there was a conflict of interest.

How Can a Title IX Advisor Help?

Title IX misconduct will jeopardize your future in education. You must defend yourself in a fast-paced process among complex, fluctuating procedures if you're accused.

Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento understands the nuances of federal Title IX law. He built his career advising and defending college employees from harsh misconduct allegations in Rhode Island and across the country. His dedicated team at the Lento Law Firm knows how the Title IX process works and can negotiate fair settlements for college employees to continue their work. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or through its online consultation form.

Contact Us Today!

If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations - the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Allegheny, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Schuylkill, and York County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.