Title IX Advisor - Washington College Employees

College employees are beholden to many stringent rules and regulations during their terms with the institution, whether they are tenured professors or students working part-time in the admissions office. One of the most critical situations these employees can face is defending themselves against Title IX allegations that leave them fighting for their careers and futures. Since a school's federal funding is tied to regulations governed by Title IX, a school must address misconduct allegations swiftly and harshly.

Although a school's Title IX grievance process is burdensome on Washington college employees, they can retain an advisor to aid them in their case. That advisor can be—and should be—a proven Title IX advisor with the proven expertise to advocate for you to remain in good standing with your college or university and protect your reputation.

How Does Title IX Work?

The U.S. Congress passed Title IX legislation in 1972 prohibiting sex and gender-based discrimination in any educational program or activity that receives its funding from the federal government. It's the primary course of action institutions of higher education utilize to handle sexual misconduct. Title IX also governs other forms of harassment in addition to current violations, such as:

  • Bullying
  • Coercion
  • Dating/Domestic violence
  • Failing to report Title IX misconduct
  • Hazing
  • Providing false information to Title IX personnel
  • Stalking
  • Sexual assault, discrimination, and exploitation

Title IX also applies to workshops and training programs outside traditional postsecondary education that the U.S. government funds. Sometimes, Washington professors, coaches, and student employees manage or teach in community events and activities. For all Washington college employees in these situations, Title IX will apply in activities such as:

  • Firearms 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
  • Little league football teams managed by county parks and recreations department receiving funding from the Department of the Interior

Title IX Restructuring

In a stark shift from Trump-era regulations, in-person hearings, cross-examination, formal reporting guidelines, and other due process measures are on the Biden Administration's chopping block. According to a White House press release, the Department of Justice has also included language in Title IX to "fully enforce civil rights laws to prevent discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation," according to a White House press release. Therefore, Title IX's purview is more wide-ranging than ever.

Title IX Reporting Requirements for Washington College Employees

Title IX law states that institutions of higher education may form their own reporting requirements for misconduct allegations. Some colleges and universities may enforce mandatory reporting to the school's Title IX Coordinator for all faculty, staff, and part-time employees—called "responsible employees."

There are some exemptions as particular employees aren't considered mandated reporters but are "confidential resources" and include university counselors, pastors, and student healthcare providers. Guidelines vary from school to school, but they are located in its student code of conduct or faculty or employee handbook.

How Does the Title IX Grievance Process Work?

Once the school's Title IX Coordinator is made aware of an instance of misconduct, the institution will have "actual knowledge," launching the Title IX grievance process. While colleges and universities deviate in the time given to different process aspects—notices of investigations and hearings, response to evidence, appeals—most proceed similarly.

Central Washington University conducts its investigation phase as follows:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the accuser (Complainant) to discuss the allegations and offer supportive resources.
  2. The Title IX Coordinator will inform the accused (Respondent) through a written notice of allegations and investigation. The respondent will be apprised of their rights, including to be presumed "not responsible," and choose an advisor to assist them.
  3. An Investigator(s) will be assigned to gather evidence and interview the Complainant, Respondent, and any witnesses involved.
  4. The Investigator(s) will send an investigation report to both parties, who will have a short time to respond.
  5. The Title IX Coordinator will determine if the investigated allegation warrants a hearing.

It's essential that you retain professional advice to help you defend yourself during the hearing phase. A Title IX advisor will ensure that your school's disciplinary body respects your rights. Moreover, they will represent you in the hearing or coach you to provide a cohesive and coherent argument to protect your employment status.

The hearing phase will move forward as follows:

  1. The Hearing Officer will conduct the hearing and discuss evidence gathered by the Investigator, or anything else they determine is relevant and credible.
  2. The Complainant and Respondent will make an opening statement.
  3. Each party's advisor will cross-examine the other party and witnesses.
  4. The Complainant and Respondent make closing remarks.
  5. The Hearing Officer will base their determination of responsibility on the "preponderance of evidence," meaning more than 50 percent convinced.

Appealing Title IX Determinations

College employee respondents have only seven calendar days upon the official notification of the determination to file an appeal. At Eastern Washington University, an appeal may be filed if:

  • Procedural irregularities affected the case outcome
  • New evidence emerges
  • The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), or Hearing Officer had a conflict of interest or bias
  • Sanctions imposed were excessive

Title IX Consequences for College Employees

If a college employee is found responsible for Title IX misconduct, punishments are severe. Gonzaga University's sanctions include:

  • Behavioral evaluations
  • Demotion
  • Letter of reprimand
  • Loss of staff privileges
  • Pay reduction
  • Reassignment
  • Suspension without pay
  • Termination of employment

The consequences of Title IX misconduct are long-lasting. For example, Gonzaga University requires that records are on file for at least seven years. Consequently, your ability to obtain employment at any other college or university is significantly hindered. You may have to disclose disciplinary investigations on some applications for professional licenses and federal clearances required for many government jobs.

How Can a Title IX Advisor Help?

Defending yourself against Title IX misconduct is intimidating. Without an experienced advisor, you will be left to protect yourself in a rigorous process with complex rules.

Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento understands federal Title IX law fluctuations. He has built his career on advising and fighting for college employees facing Title IX misconduct allegations in Washington and across the country. His dedicated team at the Lento Law Firm recognizes the process's nuances and strategizes to negotiate fair settlements for college employees to continue their work. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or through its online form.