Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal law that condemns gender discrimination in federally funded higher education institutions. Since the majority of colleges and universities in the nation are funded in some capacity by the government, most higher education institutions are required to comply with Title IX.
Sexual misconduct, in all of its forms, technically falls under the umbrella of gender discrimination. In compliance with Title IX, all federally funded schools must adjudicate all instances of sexual misconduct in its jurisdiction.
Sexual assault, battery, or coercion is a prevalent form of sexual misconduct that Title IX coordinators have seen a lot of on college campuses across the nation. In the event that a complaint is filed alleging this misconduct, the accused student and an accuser will undergo what's referred to as the Title IX process to ultimately come up with a determination. This process typically entails an investigation and sometimes a hearing in an effort to dictate, based on the evidence, whether or not the accused is “responsible” for violating Title IX.
What is Sexual Assault, Battery, or Coercion?
While sexual assault, battery, and coercion are related and can be interlinked, It's important people understand the subtle differences between these actions. After all, all three of these actions are punishable in collegiate settings and most importantly, criminally. If an accuser chooses to pursue charges, the accused may be prosecuted for such actions, so understanding their definitions are vital.
Coercion is the practice of forcing another person to act in an involuntary manner by use of threats of force. It can be enforced by physical or psychological means. Pointing a gun or knife at someone and asking them to do something they wouldn't otherwise normally do is physical coercion. While psychological coercion would be telling a person that you would plaster their nude photos all over the internet if they don't do as you say.
Battery is the act of intentionally or recklessly causing offensive physical contact or bodily harm that is not consented to by the target. Aside from the typical forms of battery like hitting, shoving, or pinning someone down, people have been found responsible for battery when they drug or poison another person against their will.
Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent or is inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent. Coercion and battery can be forms of sexual assault.
As accused students endure the Title IX process, it's important they remember that they too are entitled to rights, just like an accuser. Although most schools are expected to thoroughly adhere to their own policy, sometimes outside forces, like pressure from the Education Department, timing restrictions, and other circumstances may lead to an unfair process and result. This is why accused students should seek the help of an experienced attorney advisor to ensure the process remains equitable, and that a school is held accountable if it ever was to deviate from federal regulations.
Nationwide Title IX Advisor
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. For respondents, especially, the assistance of an attorney advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.