Under federal law, higher education institutions receiving funding are required to appoint at least one Title IX coordinator. This individual's main goal is to ensure the college or university complies with Title IX. Although this role might not sound like it's too demanding, it's actually a huge commitment. Because some applicants may underestimate the gravity of this job, they may occupy a position without a complete understanding of their responsibilities.
It's essential for coordinators to understand every aspect of their job to maintain an equitable process, and to preserve the rights of complainants (accusers) and respondents (the accused) alike. It's equally important for students to recognize what an adequate Title IX coordinator does (or shouldn't do) to make sure they aren't overstepping their boundaries or partaking in behavior that slights you.
The most important responsibility of a Title IX coordinator is to conduct investigations and enforce disciplinary actions. When a person files a complaint alleging sexual misconduct, the coordinator is tasked with handling the investigation from beginning to end, which entails a number of things. Conducting interviews, informing parties of grievance processes, establishing credibility, allocating resources, determining appropriate sanctions, and evaluating evidence are a few of the major duties bestowed upon a coordinator by an institution. All of which require consistent objectivity to guarantee an equitable process.
Impartiality has become a big concern in Title IX investigations. In the past, coordinators have been caught prematurely casting blame onto a respondent or questioning the validity of a complaint before hearing all the facts. Just recently a respondent filed a lawsuit against USC alleging that his Title IX investigation was biased after overhearing a conversation between two of the school's Title IX coordinators. He recalled them calling him a “motherf**cker,” and labeling his accuser “cute” and “intelligent” - an apparent bias that would undoubtedly influence the rest of the investigation. He was awarded a massive payout that was upwards of $100,000 for the incident.
Other important roles of a Title IX coordinator include overseeing initiatives, collaborating with other departments, and participating in shaping campus policy as it relates to sexual misconduct. Overall, the people in these positions will be making decisions that impact the outcome of your case. To make sure their actions are aligned with your school's policy and federal law, contact an attorney.
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.