Allegations of sexual misconduct are damaging and can jeopardize your professional and academic future. If you find yourself in this predicament, it's important you have a clear and comprehensive understanding of your school's processes, so you can sufficiently defend yourself. Also, recognizing the benefits of the presence of an attorney can also make all the difference in a case outcome. Here is a brief overview of what to expect at the University of Delaware.
Title IX Process
Filing a complaint
At the University of Delaware, any member of the institution's community is encouraged to report instances of sexual misconduct on campus. There is even a policy on campus that obligates “responsible employees” to report said alleged behavior to the school's Title IX coordinator in all circumstances.
In a report, “A complainant” is known as a person who has experienced the prohibited conduct, regardless of whether that particular individual made the complaint or desires disciplinary action. The alleged perpetrator of sexual misconduct in these cases is called a “respondent.” Once the school receives word of an alleged incident, they aren't allowed to drag their feet. The DOE has upheld a standard that demands schools to promptly initiate Title IX procedures. The failure to do so could lead to the loss of federal funding for these institutions.
In some cases, the university may implement interim measures to prevent retaliation against a complainant, and for the safety of the overall school community. School authorities may request that respondents make living and work accommodations, ask that they not attend classes in common with a complainant, enact a no-contact order etc. These measures will remain intact until the Title IX process has been completed.
Once a report is made, a Title IX coordinator is tasked with conducting a preliminary assessment to determine whether the alleged conduct, as referenced in the report, would actually present a potential violation of this policy. This decision is based on a respondent's history, proof of violence, or any other information that would suggest that this conduct was more likely than not exhibited.
Once a decision is made, the findings either will indicate that no further action is necessary, that further action is warranted, but only if the complainant wishes to pursue a complaint, or that further action is warranted whether or not a complainant chooses to partake in the process. If one of the latter two options are applicable to a case, an in-depth investigation will be conducted.
Investigators appointed by the school's Title IX coordinator will be responsible for conducting an impartial and thorough investigation to collect facts pertaining to the alleged incident. This consists of interviewing complainants, respondents, and witnesses that know any relevant information about the alleged incident. When enough evidence is collected, investigators will prepare a final report.
In the event that a respondent is responsible for the misconduct and for violating school policy, the university will initiate the sanctioning process. This process is meant to “eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects.” The severity of the sanctions imposed will depend solely on the nature of a case.
Respondents who are dissatisfied with a determination and/or sanction have the option to appeal. When a school grants an appeal it will reconsider its decision. However, in order for one to be granted, it must contain at least one of the following elements:
- The findings of the final decision are erroneous,
- The decision is contrary to new information that was not known at the time of the investigative or sanctioning process
- There was bias or prejudice by investigators or the panel imposing the sanction,
- The sanction is considered disproportionate to the severity of the violation
An appeal must be submitted in writing within five days of the final determination or the sanctioning decision.
Title IX Advisor
Choosing an attorney as your advisor would prove to be beneficial for students, especially as a respondent. An experienced attorney can help you collect evidence, interview witnesses and present a final statement that is effective. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has extensive experience helping students who have been in your shoes. Contact him today for help.
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 Delaware and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help