Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that mandates sex equality within federally funded higher education institutions. Therefore, gender discrimination on college campuses is prohibited by the law. Because the majority of colleges and universities are funded by the government in some capacity, most schools in the nation are obligated to comply with Title IX regulations.
Sexual misconduct, in all of its forms, is technically gender discrimination. This means that a large span of actions that constitute sexual misconduct is a direct violation of Title IX, and therefore will be adjudicated by schools in accordance with current federal guidelines.
Attempted and completed rape are unfortunately a prevalent form of sexual misconduct that Title IX coordinators receive complaints about on campus. In the event that a complaint is filed alleging this behavior, the accused student and the accuser will undergo what's known as the Title IX process to come up with a determination. This process involves an investigation and sometimes a hearing to dictate, based on the evidence, if the accused is “responsible” for a violation of Title IX.
What Constitutes Attempted or Completed Rape?
Rape is defined as non-consensual sexual intercourse that may involve the use of threat of force, violence, unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress. Overall, any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient enough to constitute rape.
Sexual encounters are labeled non-consensual in the absence of consent. Consent must always be affirmative, meaning that it must be conveyed through understandable words and/or actions. It must also be given for every respective intimate act that ensues between parties. Consent can also become ineffective if a party becomes incapacitated. Incapacitation occurs when a person becomes physically and/or mentally impaired (by drugs, alcohol, sleep, etc.) such that they aren't able to make rational judgments. Once a student becomes incapacitated, consent immediately becomes null and void.
Throughout the course of the Title IX process, it's important for the accused to remember that they too are entitled to certain rights. But due to the nature of the process, pressure from the Education Department, timing restrictions, and other logistics, the rights of the accused are sometimes infringed upon by their school. This is why these students need the help of an experienced attorney advisor who understands what it takes to preserve their rights. Joseph D. Lento can ensure that the process remains equitable and that the school may be held accountable for unfair processes and results.