After you have been accused of a Title IX violation, and if a finding was entered against you, you have the right to file an appeal. These appeals are supposed to follow the guidelines set forth in Title IX, but in a some cases they are not. When these guidelines are not followed, this often creates an unfair Title IX appeals process for those responding to and challenging a Title IX determination that was not in their favor. When these processes are unfair, it is critical that you remember that you have rights that deserve to be protected. You are not stuck with an unfair decision or an appeals process that is unfair against you. You can fight back.
In order to ensure your rights are protected throughout the Title IX appeal process, it is important to have a highly experienced Title IX defense attorney at your side. The best way to protect your rights in this complicated process is to have your rights looked out for by an attorney with over a decade of experience in Title IX cases and appeals.
If you are facing allegations of a Title IX violation, or need help with an appeal, experienced Title IX defense attorney Joseph D. Lento can defend your rights. You can fight these allegations against you.
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 how unfair Title IX appeals may affect you, an understanding of what Title IX is important. Title IX of the Education Amendments is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination because 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.
How to Identify Your School's Title IX Appeals Process
Title IX does not require that every college, university, or school district have an appeals process. This is despite the fact that it does require every school to have in place Title IX procedures for investigation of complaints and the eventual decision and sanctions that come with it. However, most major colleges and universities have in place some type of Title IX appeals process.
This process is created and run through the school's Title IX program in most cases. To identify what your school's Title IX appeal process is, takes a little investigation and an understanding of the unique attributes of your school's process. There is not a standard set forth by the federal government that ensures every school's appeals process is the same. As a result, every school's process can be a little different. These differences can be minor and inconsequential, or can make all the difference in your case. It is crucial to understand the specific rules and requirements of the appeals process at your individual school.
Your School's Policies
In order to determine the specific appeals process for your school requires an investigation of your school's individual Title IX policies. This can be performed in a number of ways by your Title IX defense attorney:
- investigation of your school's Title IX website (websites often provide a link to full procedures, or at least an overview of appeals procedures at your college or university)
- contact your school's Title IX coordinator and request specific appeals procedures
- contact your university's Title IX office for specific appeals processes
Attorney Joseph Lento is experienced with representing students' Title IX appeals throughout the country, and is well-versed in learning the specific ways different schools do their appeals. This experience can be put to use for you.
What Makes a Title IX Appeal Process Unfair
An appeal of your Title IX case should be fair and just. This should be true of every part of your Title IX experience, but all too often this is far from the case. Unfair policies are common, and in many cases the policy itself may be fair, but investigators, hearing panels, and other decision makers are unfair in the way that they handle the case. Because of these risks, it is common for an unfair appeal process to take place. This can cause irreparable harm to your schooling career, and your potential occupation throughout the rest of your future.
Unfair Review Process
The review process undertaken by the college or university should be fair, equitable, and follow the self-imposed guidelines set forth in the Title IX procedures for your school. When this does not occur, you should have a remedy to that unfair process. An unfair review process can occur in several ways, including but not limited to the following:
- assumption that finding of investigator was correct
- not allowing respondent to show why finding of investigator was flawed
- lack of substantial evidence by complainant that incident alleged actually occurred
- failing to allow student to be represented by an advocate or counsel
- process itself does not adequately allow respondent to demonstrate why investigator's determination was incorrect
- lack of good faith effort by appeal board to question investigator's factual findings
- lack of good faith effort by appeal board to consider whether the imposed sanctions were appropriate based on the findings of the investigator
- perfunctory review of the investigator's findings
- unfair review process set forth in the rules
There may be many other ways that a potential process for appeal could be considered unfair. Because every school's policies are different, each can have its own unique challenges you will face. With the help of the right attorney, you can fight back against these unfair policies and move forward confidently with your appeal.
Why a Fair Appeals Process is Important
A fair appeals process is crucial to the success of your Title IX appeal. In this day and age it is all too easy for an investigator to automatically assume the complainant's story is the right one. There is a lot of pressure to automatically believe every allegation of sexual misconduct alleged by complainants. Because of this pressure, many cases are not properly investigated and the results can be very negative for your life, your education, and your future career.
Theoretically, a fair appeals process should correct any unfairness that occurred during the investigatory process. A fair appeal will result in any unfairness that occurred before in being rectified. Whether this is over an inappropriate determination as to the facts of the case, or as to the sanction imposed against you for the Title IX violation, you deserve to have your case fairly heard and reviewed at the appellate level.
A fair appeal can right a wrong done against you by an improper investigation. It can correct an injustice done against you by an overzealous investigator, hearing panel, or an untruthful complainant. With the help of a trained lawyer, you can know what is unfair before it happens to you. Without experienced legal counsel by your side, you may not realize that your rights are being trampled, as the Title IX appeals process can be incredibly complicated.
What to Do if Your Appeal Process Was Unfair: What Respondents Need to Know
If you were subject to an unfair appeals process at the college, university, or school district level, there is still some things that you can do. These other methods can help you fight back against unfair policies at the school level. Schools are often not willing to change their policies and procedures, even when they know them to be unfair. You may have to file a complaint outside of the school to get the fairness you deserve.
Filing a Complaint with the Department of Education or the Department of Justice
If you faced an unfair appeals process at the school level, you can file a complaint with the Department of Education or the Department of Justice and allege a violation of Title IX. This complaint states that the school violated the requirements of Title IX during your appeal.
OCR appeals are not a method for hearing the entire case again, but can only be appealed when the appealing party avers that:
- The factual information was not complete or was incorrect,
- The legal analysis was incorrect, or
- The appropriate legal standard was not applied.
However, this can be a majorly powerful way of fighting back against a school that has treated you unfairly. If the Office of Civil Rights for the Department of Education finds that the appeal process was unfair, it can overrule the findings of the school and reverse the decision. It may also find that the sanction against you was disproportionate to the findings and modify the sanctions against you.
Filing a Civil Rights Lawsuit in Federal Court
Another option you have after an unfair appeals process is to file a Title IX lawsuit in federal court. As the victim of an unfair appeal process at your school, you have the right to file a separate lawsuit in federal court seeking a change of the sanctions imposed against you, as well as the possibility of money damages in certain cases. These lawsuits can be filed after the school's appeal process or after the Office of Civil Rights appeal has been decided.
This lawsuit would allege that your civil rights under Title IX have been violated, and you are entitled to have it modified or wiped away. These lawsuits can be a powerful way of exposing the unfair practices of the school's appeal, and how it negatively affected your case, and your life. This power tool is at your disposal, and with the help of an experienced Title IX lawyer you can ensure that your rights are protected. Remember, you are not alone in this fight.
Why You Need an Attorney in Title IX Appeals
Title IX investigations and appeals are incredibly complicated things to handle without the right legal training and years of experienced in these legal situations. If you have been accused of gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, your future is at risk. Not only do you face sanctions at the school level, but the sanctions could have major implications for your entire future, including that ability to gain and maintain employment.
With a knowledgeable attorney at your side, you can ensure that your Title IX appeal rights are respected. If there is a violation of those rights, an attorney can recognize them and pursue a remedy to benefit you. With such serious allegations against you, you cannot afford to sit back and watch it happen. Your experienced Title IX attorney will fight for your rights, and your future.
Consult an Experienced Title IX Appeal Lawyer
If you stand accused of a Title IX violation or need representation in a Title IX appeal, 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.