Valley Forge Military Academy and College established a program of compliance with federal Title IX requirements. The administrative intent is a commitment to maintaining an environment that is free of “sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual discrimination.” The institutions have allocated significant resources to develop a comprehensive protocol for investigating and hearing matters relating to Title IX.
Understanding Title IX
The Educational Amendments of 1972 contain Title IX, which prohibits sexual discrimination in U.S. educational institutions. It applies to all schools that receive federal funds. Enforcement of Title IX is primarily through “private rights of actions brought directly against schools” and by federal entities that provide funds. Their provisions explain that these policies apply to students, employees, faculty, vendors, contracted service providers, and visitors.
Acts of sexual violence are physical such as rape or sexual battery. They may be forcibly committed or committed against an individual that is incapable of giving consent to participate. The inability to provide consent may be based on the victim's age, a disability or the use of alcohol or drugs.
The provisions at Valley Forge coincide with the Pennsylvania Criminal Code in defining acts of sexual assault. These are acts that are not consensual. They may involve any of the following:
- The use of force, compulsion or psychological manipulation
- The acts may include sexually penetrating another's mouth, anus or genital opening with a body part or object
- They may be committed against victims that the perpetrator is aware are mentally impaired or otherwise unable to give consent
The provisions define sexual discrimination and harassment as being either verbal or nonverbal. They may be hostile or aggressive physical acts and may be intended to intimidate or stereotype. It may involve holding individuals to different standards based on their gender or making jokes or comments of a derogatory nature.
Acts of sexual harassment are unwanted and based on gender. They may interfere with a person's ability to pursue their educational goals through a quid pro quo or creating a hostile atmosphere. Quid pro quo sexual harassment may place the victim in situations where terms or conditions may impact their academic standing or employment. For example, it may be implied that rejecting sexual advances may have adverse academic consequences.
Reporting a Title IX Complaint
If a student, staff member or visitor believes they have been a victim of sexually-based discrimination, harassment, or violence they should contact the Title IX Coordinator, campus security or agency of law enforcement.
Coordinator of Title IX and Student Services
The Title IX Coordinator or their representative will meet with the complainant. The allegations are investigated and may be subject to formal or informal resolutions. Informal resolution is not applicable in matters involving assault or other very serious acts.
The investigation will involve interviewing the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses. Evidence is reviewed, which may include any documentation made by law enforcement. In complaints against students, a “report of findings and recommendation” will be provided to all parties involved.
Disciplinary sanctions may be imposed that include probation, suspension or dismissal. Both the complainant and respondent may file an appeal. The filing must occur within five days. The grounds for appeal include:
- There was an unfair bias
- New information has surfaced
- There was misconduct in the investigation
- The sanctions imposed are not appropriate for the offense
Legal Representation for Title IX Disciplinary Actions
Joseph D. Lento is an attorney with significant experience representing clients that are facing allegations such as sexual harassment or discrimination. He will act according to your best interests and seek a positive resolution. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686.