Higher education institutions have a responsibility to protect every student's rights under all circumstances. Unfortunately, this is a duty that isn't always fulfilled by colleges and universities. Over several years, there's been an upward trend of schools resorting to unlawful discriminatory tactics by depriving the rights of students undergoing disciplinary procedures. This is most likely due to strict rules enforced by Title IX, which put the heavy burden of complaint resolution on schools. Respondents (accused students) especially report that they are disproportionately affected by discriminatory actions carried out by their schools. They claim that current Title IX guidance perpetuates and maintains an inequitable system that almost always leads to the mistreatment of the accused.
This phenomenon is especially prevalent in sexual misconduct cases. A rising number of complainants (people who report sexual misconduct) over the years have initiated and won thousands of lawsuits in response to their school's lethargic reactions to complaints. The federal government hoped to remedy this issue by stripping federal funding from schools who have proven to disregard victims and reporters of sexual misconduct. In a swing of the pendulum, respondents claim that schools have instead chosen to appease complainants by slighting the accused.
Students who feel like they're being subjected to mistreatment and wish to hold their school accountable have the option of filing a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The OCR is a government agency that investigates unequal access to education through the denial of rights and other means and vehemently enforces these rights. However, in order to ensure that you file successfully, you'd benefit from the assistance of a skilled attorney. A qualified legal representative can help you make sure your concerns are heard by the OCR. If you aren't convinced, here are a few reasons why you should consider retaining an attorney:
They will do the work for you. The biggest perk of hiring an attorney is that they can take care of the complaint about you. It isn't a requirement for you to file, even though you're the actual victim of discrimination. An attorney can file on your behalf and complete the entire process for you.
They'll stay on top of deadlines. Timeliness is important to the OCR. They would prefer a complaint to be filed within 180 days of the act of discrimination. If it isn't filed within the deadline, your complaint could be denied. However, with the help of an attorney, you can request a waiver that allows your complaint to be heard despite filing late.
They'll help you choose the best way to file. The OCR allows students to choose one of two ways to file a complaint. One way to file is by using a template provided by the agency. Another way is to draft your own letter. An attorney may want you to write a letter to personalize your complaint, or maybe there's limited information, so the template is the way to go. Regardless, an attorney will provide you with the best options for you.
Title IX Attorney Helping Clients Nationwide
If you've experienced discrimination by your school and wish to file a complaint with the OCR, you need the help of an experienced attorney. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skills and expertise to help you successfully preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. Contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 for assistance.