Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal civil rights law that protects students and employees from gender-based discrimination in federally funded schools. This protection extends to education programs and activities in schools that receive federal funding in any capacity, including colleges and universities. Sexual misconduct in all of its forms - sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating violence etc. - is considered gender-based discrimination in accordance with this law. Therefore, under current guidelines, institutions are required to promptly and fairly adjudicate all complaints alleging this misconduct.
Title IX enforces three requirements in which all schools covered by law must adhere to (1) a notice of nondiscrimination, (2) an appointed Title IX coordinator, and (3) established grievance procedures. If schools fail to uphold any of these requirements, repercussions may be imposed.
A notice of nondiscrimination
Each student, staff, and employee must be made aware of their right to not experience discrimination through the distribution of a notice of nondiscrimination. The notice typically contains a statement that affirms the institution does not condone gender-based discrimination at any level in educational programs and activities. It also should have the contact of a Title IX Coordinator in case anyone has any questions regarding the notice, or how to get help if they feel they've experienced discrimination on campus.
The appointment of a Title IX coordinator
Every federally funded institution must appoint what's known as a “Title IX coordinator.” This person is an employee who is designated to ensure the school remains in compliance with Title IX. A good coordinator maintains an equitable Title IX process and protects the rights of complainants (accusers) and respondents (the accused) alike.
The third requirement is the adoption and execution of grievance procedures to adjudicate discrimination complaints. At the average school, procedures traditionally include:
- The filing of a complaint: schools encourage all members of the community to report all alleged instances of sexual misconduct
- Interim measures: a school's concern becomes to protect the campus community from retaliation. Measures like job rearrangements, schedule changes, housing accommodations, and more are imposed to minimize interactions between the parties involved
- The investigation: A formal investigation is conducted. Based on the facts collected during the investigation, the investigator will come up with a finding. At many schools, the investigation is the last phase of the process.
- The hearing: At the remaining schools, complaints are resolved via hearing. At the hearing, a panel will listen to testimony, witness accounts, and final statements. In the end, the panel will deliberate and come up with a determination.
- Sanctions: If a student is found “responsible” for these allegations, a wide range of sanctions could be imposed.
- Appeals: If any party is dissatisfied with the outcome of an investigation or hearing, he or she may file an appeal to address their concerns.
Nationwide Title IX Advisor
The only way to make sure your voice is heard and your rights are upheld is to retain a student defense attorney. For respondents, especially, the assistance of an attorney advisor is invaluable in the Title IX process. National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school's policy. For a case evaluation or more information about his representation, contact him online or give him a call at 888-535-3686 today.