Sexual misconduct. Disciplinary notifications. Investigations and adjudicative hearings and punitive measures.
When you first arrived at Brigham Young University - Idaho, these types of words weren't in your vocabulary. Or, at the very least, you weren't expecting to be using them in your day-to-day life. Now, as you're looking at a notice from your university that tells you that someone has made allegations of sexual misconduct against you, you're going to have to become very familiar with your school's code of conduct, due process, and Title IX policies.
It can be a lot. You've got a lot going on already, and Brigham Young University - Idaho's regulations can be confusing. You can't afford to get overwhelmed or frustrated; you've got to work hard so you can protect your future. If your university disciplines you or places a note about this in your permanent transcript, you could have a harder time excelling in your future.
Don't let that happen. Fight this strategically, starting today. Here's what you need to know.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal rights law that has been around since 1972. Even though it's a decades-old guideline, it's a relatively hot topic, as it governs the way that American schools and universities need to address allegations of sexual misconduct. From time to time, as administrations change, the way that we interpret Title IX tends to get updated.
Since this is the case, many United States academic institutions implement two sexual misconduct policies to make sure that they can keep students safe and stay up-to-date. As Brigham Young's website also states, their particular sexual harassment policies reflect “the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” which “prohibits sexual harassment by its employees and students and in all of its education programs or activities.”
Whether BYU-Idaho decides to adjudicate your case under a school code of conduct or through referral to the school's Title IX office, your experience as an accused student will likely be the same.
What Actions does BYU-Idaho Consider Punishable as Sexual Misconduct?
The university's sexual harassment policy contains the following definitions of punishable behavior:
Sexual assault. Sexual assault refers to any sexual act that happens to a person without their consent. Specific acts of sexual assault include incest, fondling, rape, sodomy, and sexual assault with an object.
Dating violence and domestic violence. These acts of violence involve people who have been or currently are in intimate or romantic relationships. With domestic violence, the violent act occurs with people who either currently are or have been spouses or intimate partners.
Stalking. Stalking occurs when one person causes another to reasonably fear for their safety through varied actions. Stalking can occur in person or online.
What is BYU-Idaho's Due Process for Cases of Sexual Misconduct?
Once the university becomes aware of an allegation of sexual misconduct, the school's Title IX Coordinator will promptly discuss the matter with the complainant - or the person who made the allegations. If the Title IX Coordinator and the complainant decide to file a formal complaint against the respondent, you, then BYU-Idaho will initiate its sexual misconduct grievance process.
This phase begins with a written letter from the university to all involved parties. After the university has sent this notice, the school will take investigative action to learn more about what happened in the alleged event. The school may elect to invite the involved parties to an adjudicative hearing, at which you, the respondent, will have a chance to tell your side of the story.
At the end of the adjudicative hearing, the school will come to a determination of guilt and make a recommendation for a disciplinary, punitive, or supportive measure. Although the idea is that the punishment will fit the offense, in many cases, the allegedly guilty student gets put on probation, suspended, or expelled for alleged incidents that may have been the result of a miscommunication or misunderstanding. As a result, that student's entire future is in jeopardy.
As the respondent, you do have the opportunity to appeal any decisions or disciplinary actions that BYU-Idaho recommends. Within a few business days of your school's decisions, you can file an appeal. However, you only have one chance to do so, so it's best to ensure you're working with a professional before you pursue this strategy.
Brigham Young Students, Call Joseph D. Lento to Help with Your Upcoming Misconduct Cases
When you're a student, and you're suddenly placed in an adversarial position with your school, it can feel like the floor has just fallen from under you.
Without any warning, it can feel like there's no one you can trust. You're quickly taking in as much information as you can about codes of conduct and the long-term ramifications of scary-sounding punishments. You're trying not to stress as you try to pull together evidence that supports your case. And you're doing all of this while still trying to manage your regular course load as a college student.
That's way too much to figure out on your own. If you're going to be successful with your sexual misconduct case, you need an experienced professional on your side.
Joseph D. Lento can help you with the expertise that you need. For years, he has come to the assistance of students like you who need a second chance. He can help you uncover evidence to support you, write persuasive arguments in your favor, prepare you for successful hearings, and more.
When it's time to protect your future, don't try to fight your school alone. Call Joseph D. Lento for the targeted skills you need. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or use our online form to reach out today.