There are few things in this country more valuable than higher education. It is an essential stop on the road to a high-paying career, and graduation from a solid school looks great on a resume. Getting through all the coursework and gathering the necessary credentials is no small feat; it's a task made even more challenging with misconduct issues piled on.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments was introduced in 1972 to protect the rights of young women in an education setting. Female students had historically faced numerous barriers to higher education not only related to admission but in their access to sufficient academic, living, and athletic accommodations once enrolled. To address the inequity, legislation was passed that states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance[.]” The amendment focuses the preeminent language around adequate programs and facilities for women, though Title IX goes further to address issues around sexual misconduct in the form of harassment and assault against women.
How Does Title IX Affect You?
With Title IX being a federal law, any school that receives federal funding must show itself in compliance with the law. Institutions spell out their own individual policies related to Title IX conduct and repercussions for violation. Within the broader scope of the law, however, many states and institutions vary in their handling of infractions. Further complicating matters, the specifics of Title IX law are constantly changing. The Trump Presidency, for instance, overhauled the legislation – just to have the Biden administration come in and attempt to repeal many of those changes.
Consistent across the board: allegations of sexual misconduct are serious. The impact of being accused and then found responsible for misconduct can unravel a career before it even begins. If you find yourself embroiled in a legal battle over Title IX, consult an experienced legal advisor. Your school may be expected to offer support on your behalf, though it's prudent to remember that the school will do whatever is necessary to protect its federal funding and its reputation. Give yourself a fighting chance by coming armed with your own legal advisor from the very start.
How Is a Title IX Accusation Investigated?
Each school publishes a student handbook that should outline its processes and policies related to Title IX infractions. Generally, these issues are handled the same way across the board. When an accusation is made, the accused is to be notified immediately before any investigation Takes place. Immediately upon notification, the accused student should seek support from a professional advisor to give himself the best chance to beat the accusation. Following the initial complaint and notifications:
- The respondent should be notified of his rights
- The right to know the nature of the complaint and who issued it
- The right to continue with coursework unperturbed while the investigation takes place
- The right to a professional advisor
- An individual Investigator is assigned by the school to investigate the claim. The investigator holds interviews with the accuser and the respondent. The respondent should, before participating in any interview, consult with a legal advisor on the best way to proceed.
- In some cases, depending on the school and the claims, a hearing is conducted following the interviews. An advisor can offer input on whether a hearing is appropriate and, if so, how to proceed. During the hearing, both parties have the opportunity to state their version of events and pose questions and challenges to the other party.
- Next, the school assigns a Decision-maker(s) to evaluate the information gathered during the investigation and hearing. The Decision-maker(s) then issue a decision and notify both parties. It's worth noting that Decision-makers are not required to obtain irrefutable evidence of guilt in order to find the respondent responsible.
- When the decision is issued, either party has the right to appeal if: new evidence exists that was not presented during the original investigation, or they obtain proof the original proceedings were executed unfairly.
- An appeals hearing unfolds in much the same manner as the original hearing
- The Decision-maker issues a final decision that is not eligible for appeal, and the case is effectively closed.
What Are the Consequences of a Title IX Violation?
Depending on the nature, violations of Title IX policies often result in expulsion, though other lower sanctions may be argued. As one can imagine, being expelled at any point during an academic career has consequences; being expelled from an institute of higher learning could be devastating for the future. At a minimum, the academic year is disrupted, and graduation from another institution may be delayed. That assumes the student can even gain entry to another institute – many schools have policies that prohibit students who have been expelled from other schools from gaining entry.
How Can Attorney Joe Lento Help?
Facing a Title IX infraction is serious and scary. If you find yourself accused of misconduct, it is in your best interest to enlist the help of an experienced Title IX advisor. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has a well-established track record of helping students across the country navigate the legal and emotional challenges such an accusation poses. He keeps himself current on the complex and ever-changing landscape of Title IX law, and he's passionate about helping students and their families make it through.
Your career matters; give it a fighting chance to start on the right foot. Enlist the help of a seasoned Title IX advisor by contacting the Lento Law Firm's Utah office at 888-555-3686 or submit your request using the automated online form. You're not alone; we can navigate this together.
Utah colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- AmeriTech College Draper
- Argosy University Salt Lake City
- Brigham Young University Provo
- Broadview Entertainment Arts University
- Broadview University Layton
- Broadview University Orem
- Broadview University West Jordan
- DeVry University Utah
- Dixie State College of Utah
- Eagle Gate College Layton
- Eagle Gate College Murray
- Eagle Gate College Salt Lake City
- Fortis College Salt Lake City
- Independence University
- ITT Technical Institute Murray
- Latter day Saints Business College
- Neumont University
- Provo College American Fork
- Provo College Provo
- Salt Lake Community College
- Snow College
- Southern Utah University
- Stevens Henager College of Business Provo
- Stevens Henager College Logan
- Stevens Henager College Murray
- Stevens Henager College Ogden
- The Art Institute of Salt Lake City
- University of Phoenix Utah Campus
- University of Utah
- Utah State University
- Utah State University College of Eastern Utah
- Utah Valley University
- Weber State University
- Westminster College
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 and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in Utah and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.