Title IX is designed to give student survivors of gender-based harassment and violence the protections they deserve on campus. However, the law should also protect students accused of misconduct and ensure they receive a fair hearing based on reliable evidence.
What happens when an institution fails to uphold the rights of the accused? Well, with a Title IX attorney's help, a student accused of misconduct can challenge the institution's conduct – and win.
The Case Against John Doe
A student, referred to as Jane Doe, accused 19-year-old business major, John Doe, of sexual assault in November 2020. While no criminal charges were filed, the University of Southern Indiana handled the complaint under its Title IX procedure.
- After a hearing led by a university-led panel in August 2021, the USI suspended John Doe for 18 months.
- The university refused his appeal.
John Doe sought a temporary restraining order, preventing the USI from suspending him until a further hearing is arranged.
The Court's Decision
The Court issued a temporary restraining order. Until a further hearing takes place, the USI cannot:
- Suspend the student; or
- Take any further action against him.
By denying John Doe a chance to appeal his suspension, the USI failed to uphold its own Title IX policies, which is a failure of due process.
What the Judgment Means for Students Facing Misconduct Allegations
Just because this is not a criminal investigation doesn't mean there's no role for the courts to protect accused students from a failure of due process.
Title IX allegations can, sometimes, result in students facing suspension or severe disciplinary action for misconduct allegations based on little evidence, and the court's judgment here ensures that John Doe is treated fairly under the Title IX rules.
And secondly, without an attorney helping John Doe exercise his Title IX rights, there would be no temporary restraining order. John Doe would be serving a year and a half's suspension right now, which would mean explaining the gap in his student record to future employers.
An experienced Title IX attorney can ensure that a student's Title IX rights are respected and hold institutions to account when they fail to follow proper disciplinary and investigative procedures.
Let Attorney Joseph D. Lento Negotiate on Your Behalf
When a student is found responsible for misconduct under Title IX, schools usually impose suspension as the minimum punishment. A suspension can seriously affect a student's future career prospects, which is why it's so crucial to seek advice from an experienced attorney the moment misconduct allegations arise. Expulsion is also a common sanction, especially when a respondent is found responsible for non-consensual sex, regardless of the context of the allegations.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento has unparalleled experience with Title IX cases and he can assist you with all school-related issues and concerns. Don't face this stressful situation alone – contact Attorney Lento and the Lento Law Firm on 888.535.3686 or complete our online form to discuss your case.