Title IX and College Sexual Misconduct at George Mason University

George Mason University is a public research university near Fairfax City, Virginia, founded in 1957 as part of the University of Virginia but now independent. The university's website commits the university to educating an engaged citizen, and well-rounded scholar prepared to act, under a motto of freedom and learning. George Mason University advertises that it is Virginia's largest public university, enrolling over 35,000 students with about a quarter of its 25,000 undergraduates living on campus. One in ten George Mason students has a military affiliation. Its athletics nickname is the Patriots.

George Mason University has schools or colleges of law, policy and government, education, health and human services, humanities and social sciences, hard sciences, performing and visual arts, peace and conflict resolution, engineering, and business. Those schools and colleges support 132 graduate and professional degree programs, together with another 100 graduate-level certificate programs. Undergraduate campus life at George Mason centers around forty residence halls, while graduate students find both on-campus and off-campus housing.

Not all is bliss, though, for every George Mason University student. George Mason students, like students at other colleges and universities, can face sexual-misconduct charges. National Title IX attorney Joseph Lento helps students nationwide defeat false and exaggerated sexual-misconduct allegations. Attorney Lento can also help you or someone you know at George Mason University. Read these details of George Mason's sexual-misconduct policies and procedures. Then retain the leading Title IX attorney Joseph Lento.

George Mason University Sexual-Misconduct Prohibitions

Title IX Misconduct. George Mason University maintains a single policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence. George Mason adopted that policy in 2020 to satisfy new regulations on the university's Title IX obligations to prevent sex discrimination of specific Title IX forms. George Mason University's policy prohibits these three specific forms of sexual misconduct that Title IX requires it to prohibit to receive its substantial federal funding:

  • sexual violence in the form of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking;
  • quid-pro-quo harassment, meaning to condition university benefits or services on unwelcome sexual conduct; and
  • hostile-environment harassment, meaning unwelcome sexual conduct so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive as to deny equal access based on sex.

Non-Title IX Misconduct. George Mason University's policy supplies elaborate definitions of each of the above three forms of Title IX sexual misconduct. Yet George Mason's policy, like similar policies at other colleges and universities, further extends protections beyond Title IX, to these other non-Title IX forms of sexual misconduct that George Mason subsumes under the heading of sexual exploitation:

  • taking sexual advantage of another or taking advantage of another's sexuality;
  • exceeding the boundaries of sexual consent without the other's knowledge;
  • causing another's incapacitation to compromise the other's ability to consent to sexual contact;
  • allowing non-participants to view sexual activity without the consent of all participants;
  • watching another's sexual activity without the other's knowledge and consent;
  • photographing or recording another's sexual activity without the other's knowledge and consent;
  • disseminating or posting images of private sexual activity without the consent of participants;
  • maliciously disclosing or threatening to disclose another's sexual orientation, identity, or expression;
  • prostituting another person;
  • possessing, creating, or distributing child pornography;
  • knowingly infecting another with a sexual disease without the other's consent; and
  • failing to use contraception or removing or compromising contraception
  • without the other's knowledge and consent.

George Mason University Sexual-Misconduct Procedures

George Mason University's same policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence refers to separate university procedures for resolving a sexual-misconduct complaint. Those procedures comply with Title IX's current regulations offering certain protections to both accuser and accused. George Mason uses the same procedures for Title IX and non-Title IX complaints of sexual misconduct, unlike many colleges and universities that afford an accused student fewer protections for non-Title IX allegations than those that Title IX regulations currently require.

George Mason University's procedures direct sexual-misconduct complaints to the university's Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator. A Title IX Review Committee promptly determines the university's obligation, if any, to report the misconduct allegations to police or notify the university community. The Title IX Coordinator also determines whether the complaint meets the Title IX or university definitions of misconduct. The Coordinator may dismiss complaints that do not adequately allege misconduct, subject to the complainant's appeal. For complaints adequately alleging misconduct, the Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator meets with the complainant to determine whether the complainant wishes to proceed with a formal or informal proceeding.

Informal Proceedings. George Mason University's procedures permit the Title IX Coordinator to informally resolve a misconduct complaint if the Coordinator, complainant, and accused student agree on informal resolution. Informal resolution typically occurs when the accused student admits the alleged misconduct and the accuser and accused accept the Coordinator's proposed resolution.

Formal Proceedings. George Mason's procedures authorize the Title IX Coordinator to appoint a university investigator for complaints that do not resolve informally. Parties may challenge the investigator's appointment on good cause, getting a different investigator. Once confirmed, the investigator notifies the complainant and accused student of the investigation before interviewing the complainant, accused student, and any other material witnesses. The investigator shares the collected evidence and statements with both sides, who may supplement, correct, or respond to that evidence. The investigator then prepares a final report.

Formal Hearing. George Mason University's procedures then authorize a Hearing Coordinator to select a single qualified Hearing Officer to conduct the university's hearing on the contested sexual-misconduct charge. Witnesses must testify at the hearing for the Hearing Officer to consider their information. The accused student's attorney advisor may question and cross-examination witnesses. Title IX regulations require the university to offer that accommodation. The Hearing Officer then writes a decision including the sanction, if any. George Mason's procedures permit an appeal of an adverse decision, to an Appeal Officer whom the Title IX Coordinator designates.

George Mason University Sexual-Misconduct Sanctions

George Mason University's sexual-misconduct procedures permits the Hearing Officer to impose any of these sanctions: probation, required education, limiting or removing rights or duties, suspension, expulsion, and cancellation of the degree. In deciding that sanction, the procedures encourage the Hearing Officer to consider the violation's severity, persistence, pervasiveness, violence, impact on the complainant, and impact on the community, the accused student's disciplinary record, the university's safety, and any other mitigating or aggravating factors.

Get the Best Help Available

If you or someone you know faces sexual-misconduct charges at George Mason University, then retain national Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm. Don't attempt to fight such serious charges alone when the charges place so much at risk. Attorney Lento helps accused students defeat false and exaggerated sexual-misconduct charges. Attorney Lento has helped hundreds of students nationwide preserve their futures, education, career, and reputation. You have every reason to trust Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm to help you defend George Mason University sexual-misconduct charges. Call 888-535-3686 to schedule a consultation, or use the online service.

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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.

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