The Title IX Coordinator is an incredibly important person when it comes to handling your Title IX case and any allegations against you. He or she is tasked with ensuring that the college or university follows the federal guidelines imposed by Title IX, and for ensuring that Title IX investigations take place. This person is expected to be an expert in all things relating to Title IX, but all too often the Coordinator at your school may miss important parts of the process, especially those that protect you as the accused party. But, with the help of an experienced attorney, you can ensure your rights are protected.
If you are a college student facing Title IX violation allegations, experienced Title IX defense attorney Joseph D. Lento is here to help. You have the right to defend yourself against these allegations.
Experienced Title IX Defense Attorney
Joseph D. Lento has many years of experience in defending those accused of Title IX violations, including students, international students, employees, and professors at universities and colleges throughout the United States. Understanding the ins and outs of Title IX cases requires the type of hard work and experience Lento brings to work with him every single day. Every case deserves the best possible protection, including yours.
Joseph Lento is an experienced negotiator, and some Title IX cases can be resolved amicably with the right negotiator by your side. When cases cannot be resolved through such efforts, he has the years of experience needed to fight your case all the way to the end, including through any necessary appeal. You will always rest easy, knowing that your rights are protected by a highly competent attorney.
What is Title IX?
To understand the role of the Title IX coordinator, an understanding of what Title IX is important. Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal civil rights law that forbids discrimination on the basis of gender committed by or against students, staff, and faculty in higher education institutions that receive federal funding. Gender discrimination can be committed against women, men, and transgender individuals.
Sexual misconduct is considered gender-based discrimination, along with proven instances of bullying, employment discrimination, and unfair and disproportionate opportunities in intercollegiate sports and educational programs.
Colleges and universities receiving federal funding maintain their compliance with Title IX by handling any of reported cases of gender-based discrimination. All parties involved in a case - whether they be students or employees of a college - will be required to undergo their school's Title IX processes.
Title IX Coordinators
By federal law, every school or university is required to designate at least one employee to serve as the Title IX coordinator. This person is in charge of making sure that every students' Title IX rights are protected, and that a robust Title IX protection program exists. Title IX deals with gender discrimination across the spectrum, including in sports, sexual misconduct cases, and more. Title IX coordinators are expected to know and understand the ins and outs of this federal law, and be able to implement it in order to protect student rights.
The Title IX coordinator is the responsible employee with major responsibility for Title IX compliance efforts. The Title IX coordinator's responsibilities are critical to the development, implementation, and monitoring of meaningful efforts to comply with Title IX. Those schools and universities that receive federal funding (which are most) are required to notify recipients of their Title IX regulations.
Often, the Title IX coordinator is a specially trained person who knows how to function as the Title IX coordinator. Sometimes, but far from always, this person is a non-practicing attorney. However, the role does not require someone with a law degree to hold the position, which often results in Title IX coordinators with a less than ideal understanding of how to run a successful and compliant Title IX program.
Knowledge Requirements for Title IX Coordinators
There is a lot a Title IX coordinator is expected to know. They are expected to know and understand all of the types of discrimination covered under Title IX. They also must understand all of the college campus's policies and procedures regarding gender discrimination and sexual misconduct. This means understanding key terms, how policies are enforced, and much more. Most Title IX Coordinators are integrally involved in the creation and implementation of these policies, which can be an essential part of the coordinator's education.
Many Title IX coordinators receive special training for their positions, and continue to attend classes, seminars, and other educational opportunities to stay up to date on changes, and continue to learn how to better serve the students under their care. While this is an expectation, not every Title IX coordinator will be prepared to handle your case correctly. Many coordinators are thrown into their position with inadequate training and experience for the job.
Often, this may not really be their fault, but in any case you should not be harmed because of a Title IX coordinator's insufficient knowledge on how to do the job. This lack of knowledge often comes down on the side of the accused's rights, meaning they don't fully understand or comprehend that you, as the accused party, have just as many rights as the alleged "victim" in the case.
Too often coordinators side with the accuser and fail to properly protect the rights of the accused. With a highly experienced Title IX defense lawyer at your side, you can ensure your rights are protected.
Duties of Title IX Coordinators
Title IX coordinators are expected to fulfill a great many duties entrusted to them under federal law. As the person responsible for overseeing the program that protects against gender discrimination and sexual misconduct claims on campus, there is a lot the coordinator has to know and do. Often, much of these duties are neglected or forgotten, often to the accused party's detriment.
Campus Climate Surveys
As part of the Title IX expectations, coordinators must oversee college campus sex discrimination and sexual violence prevention initiatives. This helps ensure Title IX compliance, as well as provides protection for students on campus. Often, this comes in the form of providing student training that helps to prevent sexual violence during dating, sexual experiences, domestic violence situations, and stalking occurrences. These trainings are often used to help prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment by students against students (or college staff against students as well.)
In order to determine if the efforts undertaken by the Title IX coordinator have been at all effective, it is recommended by the federal guidelines that the Title IX coordinator conduct a campus climate survey. These surveys help to determine the effectiveness of the programs implemented on campus, and collect information that can help improve these programs. This includes email survey questions, paper surveys, and even student meetings and assessments.
Investigations & Disciplinary Actions
Title IX coordinators are expected to investigate complaints and enforce disciplinary actions relating to Title IX infractions. When a person reports to the coordinator that sex discrimination or allegations of sexual misconduct have occurred, the Title IX coordinator is expected to handle an investigation from beginning to end. These investigations include, but are not limited to:
- Conducting interviews with the parties involved
- Informing all parties about the grievance process
- Establishing the credibility of witnesses
- Evaluating evidence with an impartial view
- Determining appropriate sanctions against the perpetrator
- Helping survivors find resources
All too often, these investigations are not handled well, and start with a presumption of guilt on your part (though they are not supposed to) especially in cases where you are accused of sexual assault. As stated before, Title IX coordinators may not fully understand all of the rights you have as the accused, so it is critical that you retain an experienced attorney to defend you during this process.
Disseminating Title IX Policies
Title IX regulations require that the coordinator take regular steps to inform the campus, including students, staff, and teachers about changes in policies, and their current rights under Title IX policies. This is often done as part of a presentation, posted notices, or even simply an email. While it is unlikely every student will be handed a full list of every regulation and right under Title IX, students are often taught very general information about Title IX, and that students have rights against gender or sex discrimination.
For students to be able to effectively utilize their rights under Title IX, they have to be aware of them. Failures by Title IX coordinators to inform you of your rights may have led to an unfair process, investigation, and you may need to appeal an adverse decision against you.
Monitoring Compliance with Title IX Policies
One of the primary tasks required of a Title IX coordinator is to monitor the overall compliance with and implementation of Title IX policies throughout the different departments of the university or college. This duty applies across the board, and from the moment college begin to admit students to the day the student leaves. The Title IX coordinator is responsible with working with other departments to make sure that policies are followed, and that no gender discrimination or sexual misconduct occurs.
Title IX requires compliance with non-gender discrimination policies during the admission process, so that students are not hindered because of their gender in any way. This includes in admissions to sports, academic clubs, majors, and much more. This also includes student employment on campus and to ensure a lack of gender discrimination in the hiring process for employees and faculty.
Other Key Responsibilities Imposed by Title IX
Other responsibilities of the Title Coordinator include, but are not limited to:
- Develop a working knowledge of the federal Title IX (of the Education Amendments of 1972) law and its implementation regulations. Have a copy of Title IX readily available and understand the requirements and the intent of the law.
- Keep informed of current research and legal and judicial decisions related to Title IX and gender equity.
- Ensure female and male students participating in work based education programs are guaranteed equal treatment by their employers.
- Provide program development, including in-service training, to eliminate sex discrimination in the district.
- Attend state and national conferences specifically for Title IX coordinators and/or on gender equity issues generally, and share the information with local administrators, staff and faculty.
- Provide updated resources on Title IX and gender equity to local school districts
What Respondents Need to Know: Understanding the Title IX Coordinator's Role
As a respondent, i.e. the person accused of the Title IX violation, it is important that you understand who the Title IX coordinator is and what his or her role is in the investigation process. If you stand accused of a Title IX violation, you are likely a little scared and maybe confused about this complicated process, and what to do next. That is alright, and completely normal.
Title IX coordinators tend to favor the accuser, not the accused. As mentioned above, not every coordinator fully understands that you have rights that require protection as well, and that investigations of complaints need to be done well and within legal standards. As a result of this lack of knowledge on the part of the Title IX coordinator, your rights can be negatively impacted if you do not have an attorney to protect your rights.
Do I Need an Attorney?
If you stand accused of a Title IX violation, there are some very serious consequences that could occur if you are found to have violated. With the risk of suspension, expulsion, loss of scholarship, and more in front of you, you cannot afford to sit back and watch your life be taken from you. You have rights that deserve to be protected. The long-term harm of choosing to go it alone can be catastrophic, emotionally and financially.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has a firm understanding of the consequences and has helped countless students accused of Title IX violations defend their case. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today for help.