Known as the only public university in the nation's capital, the University of the District of Columbia is where many in-state and out-of-state students have chosen to pursue their undergraduate and graduate degrees. Much like other federally funded schools, this institution places on emphasis on integrity, and has implemented federal regulations for all members of its campus community to abide by. Civil rights legislation, Title IX, specifically condemns and outright bars the exhibition of gender-based discriminatory behavior by UDC students.
Sexual misconduct is considered gender-based discrimination in accordance with Title IX, which means that schools are obligated to investigate and resolve all complaints reported of this nature. Students facing allegations of said behavior have been known to undergo dire repercussions upon being found responsible for sexual misconduct. In some cases, these consequences have kept students from fulfilling the ultimate goal of attending UDC in the first place: getting a degree. If you have been accused of sexual misconduct, it's important you understand the processes you are about to undergo, and the value of a dependable lawyer to occupy the role of an advisor throughout this process.
For the purposes of this article, we will provide a brief overview of UDC's Title IX process.
Title IX Process
UDC plans on wrapping up processes entirely within sixty calendar days, depending on the allegations presented. Throughout the process, an individual who identifies as a victim/survivor of the alleged sexual misconduct is referred to as a “complainant,” while an individual who is accused of said behavior will be referred to as a “respondent.”
When a complaint is received by the school's Title IX coordinator, one of his or her's first moves is protecting a complainant from potential retaliation - a serious violation of school policy. In an effort to do so, a Title IX coordinator and other school authorities may impose interim measures to keep all parties safe. The following measures may be temporarily imposed throughout the course of the school's Title IX process:
- The issuing of a no contact order (no verbal, written, or third party communication between parties)
- Parking and/or transportation accommodations
- Housing rearrangements
- Chances in work schedule or job assignments
- Restrictive access to certain areas of the university etc.
This is the phase where respondents will be given a chance to tell their side of the story, and provide evidence to support their account of events. They, along with a complainant, and witnesses will be separately and thoroughly interviewed by fact-finding investigators. Once all the information is gathered, investigators will attempt to come to a resolution by comprising an investigative finding that indicates a determination of responsibility and a recommended sanction(s), if applicable. All decisions made in the investigation phase will be based on the preponderance of evidence standard - the evidence dictates that it was more likely than not or likely that a violation occurred.
The outcome of an investigation may be appealed by a respondent. An appeal is a written request for a school to reconsider a determination and/or sanction(s). But in order for an appeal to be granted, it must be based on reasonable grounds. The sole grounds for an appeal includes, but is not limited to:
- A procedural error significantly affected a determination and/or sanction
- New information that was not available at the time of an investigator surfaced that could have reasonably affected a determination and/or sanction
- The sanction is not proportionate to the severity of a violation
Students have within 5 business days to submit a written appeal.
Title IX Advisor
Choosing an attorney as your advisor can level the playing field in a system that is designed to slight and disadvantage you. Skilled legal professional Joseph D. Lento has helped guide students who were once in through these processes successfully, and he can do the same for you. 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 Washington, D.C. and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Joseph D. Lento can help.