Employees of colleges and universities are profoundly affected by Title IX accusations. Not only do employees need to worry about being accused of Title IX discrimination, but they also need to know they can face termination for failing to report Title IX violations. If you can't defend yourself against Title IX claims, you'll lose your job and suffer damage to your reputation. The long-term impacts are ultimately devastating.
If you're being accused of Title IX violations, you need to hire an experienced defense advisor who understands the process of Title IX proceedings on Oregon college campuses.
Understanding Title IX Violations
Title IX is a federal law, and all schools that receive federal funding must abide by it. Enacted in 1972 as part of the Education Amendments, Title IX seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex.
Title IX prohibits discriminatory conduct on the basis of sex, which includes but isn't limited to:
- Denying someone admission to a school or program
- Disqualifying someone from research opportunities
- Providing preferential opportunities for some students and not others
- Engaging in sexual violence or harassment
In academic institutions, some students will ultimately be denied opportunities for valid reasons. For example, they may not meet grade requirements for internships, or they may have participated in misconduct that reduces their ability to seek scholarship funding. These students can be quick to accuse discriminatory practices under Title IX, and even if the claim is unfounded, the school must investigate.
How Does Title IX Affect College Employees in Oregon?
Whether you're employed by the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, or one of the state's other universities, your adherence to Title IX laws will be required. Because Title IX is a federal law, each school will have to abide by the minimum mandates. Of these requirements, there are two important issues college employees need to consider when protecting themselves from Title IX liability:
- College employees must not discriminate on the basis of sex.
- College employees must report suspected instances of sex-based discrimination.
Not only do college employees need to avoid committing sex-based discrimination, but they also need to adhere to strict reporting standards. Federal law requires colleges to maintain a dedicated Title IX Officer if the school receives federal funding.
In one example, the reporting requirements at the University of Oregon provide every employee has a level of duty “regardless of whether the disclosure is made by a student or employee.” The level of your duty to report will depend on whether your employment is categorized as a Designated Reporter, an Assisting Employee, or a Confidential Employee.
College employees can help protect themselves from Title IX liability by understanding how their employment obligates them to report Title IX violations.
Private Colleges and Title IX in Oregon
Some private colleges and universities don't receive any federal funding, and as such, they aren't required to adhere to Title IX requirements. Private college employees still need to understand that their school will likely have policies in place that mirror Title IX and the procedures and consequences will be similar. Corban University, for instance, provides a pathway for victims of sexual discrimination or violence to seek an investigation of the matter.
If you're accused of sexual discrimination at a private college in Oregon, you'll need to mount a serious defense. Sexual assault or discrimination allegations affect more than your employment prospects, and the accusation alone can tarnish your reputation for years to come. Today's political climate fosters cancel culture even in scenarios where such allegations are unfounded. It's important to mount your defense as soon as you suspect an accusation.
Title IX Investigation Processes
Title IX accusations will begin with a complaint. Almost all public universities provide an easily accessible link to an online complaint form on their website. Once a complaint is made, the school's Title IX Officer and Deputy Officers will initiate a preliminary investigation to substantiate the claimant's accusations. The preliminary investigation won't be as thorough as the formal investigation and, in most cases, won't be a bar to pursuing the formal process.
After the complaint is made and the Title IX Officer decides to continue with the investigatory process, those accused will receive a formal notice advising them of the complaint against them. The formal notice should advise you of your rights and name the individual making a claim against you. You should seek out a Title IX legal defense advisor as soon as you receive a formal notice.
The formal investigation will take place after you've received notice, and it's important for those accused to understand how their ongoing actions may impact the investigation. If accused, you should stay away from social media and remember that emails, texts, and communications can be used as evidence against you even when made after the incident under investigation.
A formal hearing will ultimately be held, likely in front of a board comprised of the Dean and other administrative heads. Your accuser will have an opportunity to present their findings against you, and you'll have a chance to defend yourself. You shouldn't go the defense alone. After all, your accuser has the weight of the Title IX Officers behind them, and you are likewise entitled to your own advocate.
If the Title IX hearing doesn't go favorably for you, you can appeal the decision. The time to appeal is of the essence, and you should have a strategy in place in the event you need to appeal the decision of the board.
Contact an Experienced Title IX Defense Advisor
An experienced Title IX defense advisor for college employees in Oregon can help you on multiple fronts. Attorney-advisor, Joseph D. Lento, understands that your career and your reputation are at stake when you're accused of sexual violence, discrimination, or even the failure to take Title IX seriously through reporting. Mr. Lento and his dedicated team of legal advocates will help you move through the investigation and defense process in a manner that preserves your integrity without sacrificing your defense. To learn how the Lento Law Firm can help you today, call 888.535.3686 or contact us online today.