Have you received an alarming notice from the administration at Oregon State University?
If your Title IX Coordinator has reached out to you, saying that your school's going to be investigating you for sexual misconduct, you might not be having a great time. More to the point, you might be worried out of your mind. Whether this was a surprise or you were hoping it wouldn't happen, a sexual misconduct investigation is a serious situation that you need to take care of—now.
OSU is deeply committed to ensuring that its students are safe. This is laudable; but, sometimes, it means that those accused of sexual misconduct don't exactly get fair treatment. You need to make sure that you do.
At the Lento Law Firm, we're here to help. It's our mission to make sure that you get the second chance at a successful future that you deserve.
Title IX and Oregon State University
Oregon State's sexual misconduct policy breaks up its list of punishable behaviors into two distinct categories: Those punishable under Title IX, and those punishable under OSU's misconduct policy. As such, your allegations will likely be labeled either “Title IX sexual misconduct” or “OSU sexual misconduct.” What's the difference?
Title IX is a federal rights law that has been in effect since 1972. Since then, it's received a lot of updates and new interpretations. With every new presidential administration, especially over the past few years, schools have had to update or re-examine their sexual misconduct policies. In order to keep up and provide a constant sense of safety for their students, many schools have opted to separate out the parts of their policies they need to update regularly while keeping more general language constantly in place.
According to OSU's policies, your school will investigate the following alleged actions:
- Sexual or gender-based harassment
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Any sexual activity without explicit consent
- Domestic or dating violence
- Stalking, including cyber-stalking
- Sexual exploitation
What Happens After an Allegation of Sexual Misconduct?
Once an allegation of sexual misconduct makes its way to your school's Title IX coordinator, the wheels of OSU's due process will begin to turn. First, your Title IX coordinator will send you a notice detailing your specific allegations and next steps. This notice should contain a reference to the part of your school's code of conduct that details the regulation you've allegedly broken. It should also tell you that now's a good time to find a legal advisor.
The next step of your sexual misconduct procedure will be an investigation. OSU will take some time to gather evidence and figure out what likely happened in your case. To do this, they may review security footage, talk to your peers, and go through your student file. At your hearing, you will be able to review all of the information that they've collected in full.
The hearing will take place before a panel of OSU staff. At the end of the hearing, OSU representatives will come to a decision regarding what likely happened. (The university uses a preponderance of the evidence standard, which means that they only need to demonstrate that your guilt is more likely than not.) They will also issue a recommendation for disciplinary action.
What's at Stake in My Sexual Misconduct Case?
In a sexual misconduct case, the most likely outcome is suspension or expulsion. Your school may consider probation, mandatory counseling, or other sanctions, but at the end of the process, your relationship with the school may be terminated.
This is clearly a harsh enough punishment—but, unfortunately, it doesn't end there. Regardless of the specific punishment you receive, OSU will make a note of your disciplinary process on your transcript or disciplinary records. In the future, whenever a prospective employer or arbiter of another opportunity requests that transcript or record, they'll see that you were involved in a sexual misconduct case. This will seriously hamper their willingness to hire you or admit you to your program.
Your reputation is important. It'll go before you, opening or closing doors for you for the rest of your life. You need to take action now to make sure that this situation doesn't make things difficult for you for a very long time!
You can appeal OSU's decision, but it's only recommended that you do so if new information comes to light or if you can demonstrate a serious procedural anomaly. Moreover, you only get one chance to appeal. We recommend that you only appeal when your attorney-advisor thinks that you have a strategic basis for a successful appeal.
If You're Struggling with Sexual Misconduct Allegations at OSU, Call Today
Here's the truth: Sexual misconduct allegations are terrifying. You might be replaying the past in your head, wondering what on earth happened. You might want to reach out to people related to the event, but you know you can't. You feel like everyone's looking at you strangely. When you think about the future, you're no longer sure what it holds.
You do need to take your sexual misconduct case seriously at OSU. It won't just go away, and you could end up with disciplinary action that makes your future harder than it needs to be. It's also important to realize that with the right strategy in place, you can absolutely get through this.
Whether you need help managing your school's investigation into your alleged actions or you want assistance preparing for the adjudication phase of your school's process, the Lento Law Firm is here for you. With targeted expertise and years of experience, attorney Joseph D. Lento is ready to help you work towards a successful outcome. He can help you draft documents, take steps to protect your reputation, understand your school's complex disciplinary procedures, and more.
Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686 today, or use our online form to send us a message.