The University of Michigan (UM) is a nationally renowned institution located in Ann Arbor. The school remains compliant with the provisions of the federal Title IX guidelines. This was a U.S. Department of Education amendment implemented in 1972 to address concerns involving sexually-based discrimination in all educational settings.
Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Overview
UM summarizes their program of Title IX compliance according to four key goals as follows:
- To eliminate and prevent all acts of Prohibited Conduct
- Ensuring that the entire UM community is “well-informed” regarding Prohibited Conduct
- Handling all alleged complaints fairly and impartially
- Clearly defining standards for proper evaluation and disciplinary action
The Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator are located within the Office for Institutional Equity in the Administrative Services Building. Other departments involved in these matters include the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (OSCR) and the Dean of Students Office (DOS). There are multiple options available for reporting complaints.
Support Person (Advisor)
Respondents are encouraged to choose a “support person or advisor” to accompany them to meetings. This individual may not be a witness in these matters.
Investigative Resolution vs. Adaptable Resolution
Adaptable resolutions are often called “alternative resolution” processes at other colleges and universities. This is a voluntary option for cases where the Respondent (accused) typically has accepted responsibility for the complaint. Adaptable resolution is not suitable for very serious violations such as sexual assault.
Investigative Resolution is the traditional approach that involves all parties attending a hearing. Hearings are held before a Review Panel that includes the Title IX Coordinator and other properly trained staff or faculty. Witness testimony may be heard; however, character witnesses are not permitted.
All parties are permitted to ask questions of the hearing officer, witnesses, and parties. Either party may also make closing statements.
Standard of Evidence
The standard of proof employed is by a preponderance of the evidence, which is “more likely than not.” Following a hearing, a written decision will be made within 14 days. If the allegations against the Respondent are proven, the individual will likely be suspended or dismissed from UM.
Those who are determined to have violated Title IX will have this information added to their student records. The University retains this information for seven years.
The Claimant and Respondent are both eligible to pursue an appeal. The OSCR Associate Director must be notified in writing within seven days. The appeal involves submitting a written statement that explains the basis for the appeal in 10 pages or less. The opposing party may review and respond to an appeal.
Those seeking to appeal an adverse ruling must do so with assistance from a lawyer. This will better ensure that the written statement is compliant with all requirements and is persuasive.
Effective Legal Counsel for Students in Title IX Actions
Students who are alleged to have committed acts of sexual misconduct may be subject to the Title IX disciplinary process. Having a seasoned attorney that is familiar with these matters is critical. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 for additional information.