Title IX—a federal civil rights law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972—protects individuals from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal funding. In May of 2020, the federal government issued additional Title IX regulations, and in August of that year, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte amended their Title IX policies to comply with the federal guidance.
Title IX Policy at UNC-Charlotte
UNC-Charlotte has a designated Title IX Office, which upholds the University's goal of maintaining a supportive environment for all students to learn and providing a professional workplace for all University employees. The University takes active measures to ensure no student is denied access to the University's educational programs or activities due to sexual discrimination, sexual violence, sexual harassment, or interpersonal misconduct.
The University's Title IX Office works with campus partners in these efforts, which include the following: to raise awareness of sexual discrimination and harassment; connect students to appropriate resources; offer students accommodations to expedite acquiring support; to encourage reporting of incidents without fear of retaliation; ensure that reports are addressed in a timely, fair and impartial way; monitor and address the climate of the campus community; and promote a University community that is free of sexual misconduct, discrimination, interpersonal misconduct.
Non-Title IX College Sexual Misconduct (CSM) at UNC-Charlotte
At UNC-Charlotte, any complaints of “Sexual Harassment, Interpersonal Violence, or Retaliation” against a University student — if made by an employee, another student, or a third party -- are processed according to the University's Code of Student Responsibility. Chapter 8 of this Code outlines the procedures for alleged “Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct by Students or Student Organizations,” including a wide range of behaviors.
It is important to note that any alleged misconduct that meets the definition of a Title IX Violation that occurred either on or after August 14, 2020, will be processed according to the University’s Title IX grievance policy, not the Code of Student Responsibility.
UNC-Charlotte's Sexual and Interpersonal Misconduct Procedures apply to the following violations of the student code:
- Relationship violence
- Dating violence
- Domestic violence
- Discriminatory harassment/intimidation based on sexual orientation
- Gender-based harassment
- Sexual act without consent
- Sexual contact without consent
- Sexual exhibitionism without consent
- Sexual exploitation without consent
- Sexual harassment
- Retaliation against an individual making a report or cooperating with an investigation
There is no time limit regarding these procedures. Any individual who alleges sexual and interpersonal misconduct has the right to file a criminal complaint with the Police and Public Safety at UNC-Charlotte or other law enforcement agency, in addition to pursuing recourse through the University's student conduct process.
What Is the Title IX Process At UNC-Charlotte?
Administrators at UNC-Charlotte use the Title IX process to determine whether a student has committed any potential violations. In its Statement of Policy, the University states that sexual violence, sexual harassment, and other conduct covered under the policy will not be tolerated.
At UNC-Charlotte, the University seeks to investigate and resolve sexual and interpersonal misconduct cases within sixty days of the date the report is filed, not including any appeals. The University acknowledges that circumstances may interfere with this timeline, causing the cases to take longer to reach a resolution. If the Title IX proceedings take longer than 120 days, the University will submit a written explanation to all those involved in the case, citing the reason for the delay.
As outlined in their Title IX policy, the University is committed to treating all complainants and respondents fairly throughout the proceeding. The University officials tasked with implementing the University's policy will evaluate all the evidence without prejudice, and these officials are not to make credibility determinations based on an individual's status. The premise is that a respondent is not responsible for any alleged misconduct until a final determination is made at the conclusion of the proceedings.
Steps in the Title IX process include the following:
Reporting Sexual Discrimination or Sexual Harassment
Any individual may report sexual discrimination or sexual harassment on behalf of themselves or another through several means, including by mail, in person, by email, phone, or another means that results in the Coordinator receiving a written or verbal report.
Supportive measures are offered to both the complainant and the respondent before or after filing a formal complaint. These measures preserve or restore equal access to the University's educational program and activities without unreasonably burdening either party. Measures include those that deter sexual harassment, protect the safety of all parties, or promote the safety of the University's educational environment.
Emergency Removal/Administrative Leave
Administrators at UNC-Charlotte may take action to remove a respondent from the University's education program or activities on an emergency basis, providing the University conducts an individualized safety and risk analysis. If the University concludes that the allegations of sexual harassment pose an immediate threat to the health or safety of any student or other individual, then that justifies removal. The respondent will be provided with written notice of the emergency removal and the reasons for such removal. Nothing in UNC-Charlotte's or Title IX policy precludes the University from placing a non-student employee respondent on administrative leave while the proceeding is pending.
Filing a Formal Complaint
The filing of a formal complaint by the complainant includes completing and submitting a document that alleges sexual harassment against a respondent. In this formal complaint, the complainant is requesting the University conduct an investigation into the allegation.
Mandatory Dismissal of Formal Complaint
If the University's Title IX Coordinator finds that the conduct alleged in the formal complaint would not constitute sexual harassment as defined by the policy (even if proven), that the conduct did not occur in the University's educational programs or activities, or that this conduct did not occur against a person in the United States, then the Coordinator must dismiss the formal complaint.
Notice of Formal Complaint
Upon receiving the formal complaint, the University's Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to the parties informing them of the following: the formal complaint, the Title IX policy, the process for resolution, the allegations, their right to have a Title IX advisor, and other details of the University's Title IX policy.
Right to a Title IX Advisor
At UNC-Charlotte, all parties are permitted to have a Title IX Advisor of their choice accompany them to any meeting or proceeding outlined in the University's policy.
At UNC-Charlotte, the hearing officer may recommend sanctions against a student respondent in accordance with the Code of Student Responsibility. These sanctions may include—but not be limited to—written reprimands, mandatory training, employment suspension, or employment termination.
Skilled Attorney-Advisor For Your UNC-Charlotte Sexual Misconduct/Title IX Allegation
College sexual misconduct allegations are serious. Trying to tackle the disciplinary process on your own is not only overwhelming; it will leave the outcome of your case to chance. For the best possible resolution of the allegations against you, have an experienced attorney-advisor navigate the complexities of the process, protect your rights, and develop the strongest defense of the allegations.
Experienced attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento has extensive knowledge of college sexual misconduct/ Title IX cases, with a track record of successful outcomes for numerous students across the country. To learn more about how Attorney Lento can help your UNC-Charlotte misconduct case, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888.535.3686 or contact us online.