The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) is a partnership comprised of nine public universities all conveniently located on one campus in Maryland. Although each university provides its own individualized academic programs and awards, USG, alternatively, provides services in admissions, financial aid, technology, student support, and campus life sectors. Since USG receives federal funding from the government, it is required to comply with a federal civil rights law known as Title IX.
Title IX is a law that essentially prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender. In compliance with this law, USG is responsible for resolving complaints that allege violations that fall under the jurisdiction of Title IX. Sexual misconduct is considered gender-based discrimination, which means that any reports of this nature are expected to be handled promptly and appropriately by USG upon notification.
If you are a student affiliated with USG who has been accused of sexual misconduct, it is important you understand the procedures and processes you will be required to undergo due to these allegations. Here is a brief overview of the USG's Title IX Process.
Title IX Process
USG aims to resolve all complaints of sexual misconduct within 60 days. This timeframe may be extended depending on the circumstances of a case. Throughout this process, school authorities will use certain terms to identify each party in a complaint. An individual who claims to have experienced the alleged misconduct will be referred to as a “complainant,” while an alleged perpetrator of this conduct will be referred to as a “respondent.”
Filing a complaint
USG encourages all members of its community to report any rumored, experienced or witnessed instances of sexual misconduct to the Title IX coordinator. Once a coordinator, or any other member of the Title IX team receives word of a possible alleged incident, the Title IX process will immediately begin.
Once a Title IX coordinator is notified of a possible violation, their first concern is the safety of a complainant. He or she may deem it necessary to impose interim measures to prevent a respondent from retaliating against a complainant, or from harming anyone else in the campus community throughout the course of Title IX processes. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to:
- The issuing of a no contact order (barred verbal, electronic, written or third party communication between parties)
- Parking and/or transportation accommodations
- Housing reassignments
- Restrictive access to certain areas of the university
- Chances in work schedule or job assignments etc.
An investigation will be overseen by the Title IX coordinator at the respondent's home institution. Although schools may handle these cases distinctly, the investigation process across the board are generally the same. Investigators will likely thoroughly interview all parties (complainant, respondent and witnesses) and come up with an investigative report that concludes a respondent is either responsible or not responsible for violating school policy.
The outcome of an investigation may be appealed by a respondent. However, this appeal must be founded on reasonable grounds. The sole grounds for an appeal are:
- Procedural error: a procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of a final determination and/or sanction
- Disproportionate sanction(s): the sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation
- New information: new information has surfaced which was not available or known to a respondent during an investigation or hearing
The deadline for an appeal submission is based on the school you attend. Refer to your school's Title IX policy and procedure guidelines for sexual misconduct.
Title IX Advisor
Choosing an attorney to occupy the role of an advisor is the only way to truly ensure your rights are protected during your school's Title IX process. Level the playing field by allowing knowledgeable attorney Joseph D. Lento help you. Contact him today.
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead, prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor to students facing disciplinary cases in Maryland and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help.