Founded in 1873 in Nashville, Tennessee, Vanderbilt University now has more than 13,000 enrolled students. The Title IX & Student Discrimination Office is responsible for the school's efforts to prevent and investigate issues related to sexual harassment, assault, and similar problems. Title IX was a 1972 amendment from the U.S. Department of Education that addressed concerns with sexual discrimination at all schools.
Contacts and Reporting Options
The Title IX Coordinator is located in Suite 975 of the Baker Building. Complaints may now also be filed anonymously using an electronic Incident Reporting Form. Vanderbilt has a variety of resources available including counseling, medical treatment, and more.
Possible Interim Measures
Upon receiving a complaint, the administration may respond by implementing “reasonable interim remedial and protective measures.”
The interim measures may be deemed as necessary for the safety and well-being of the parties and the Vanderbilt community. Examples include “no contact” orders that prohibit the parties from initiating contact or communication, academic scheduling modifications, and changes to campus housing arrangements.
Understanding Effective Consent to Engage in Sexual Activity
Effective consent must be given among those engaging in sexual activity and may be withdrawn at any point. Those wishing to participate in sexual activity have a responsibility to obtain consent, which then must be maintained throughout any encounter. Prior sexual relationships between the parties have no bearing on consent for future activity.
Parties that are incapacitated are not able to provide consent. This may be the result of drug or alcohol usage that creates an “inability” to make rational judgments.
The Title IX Coordinator will decide if a complaint warrants an investigation. The Director of Student Accountability will provide written notification to all parties that an investigation is underway. The complainant and respondent will meet with designated administrators separately to gather information, identify potential witnesses, and address questions.
Parties are permitted to choose one adviser that will provide support and accompaniment to any related proceedings. The adviser should not be a University staff member that is affiliated with these matters or those having other potential conflicts of interest.
Standard of Proof and Making a Ruling
The Title IX Office will provide the parties with a “preliminary report” and written responses containing new information may be made. A preponderance of the evidence standard is used to assess the allegations and make a decision. After deliberating, the Title IX Office will generate a final report that explains their decision.
When the violation is proven, the report is forwarded to another office for sanctioning. Responsibility for sanctions may be assigned to the Director of Student Accountability, Dean of Students, or a representative from Human Resources. Students that violate Title IX provisions are likely to face suspension or dismissal from the University.
A petition requesting an appeal must be received by the Appellate Office within 10 calendar days. Appeals are heard by three Appellate Officers composed of appointed faculty or administrators. A written appeals document must be submitted explaining the grounds for the appeal, supporting evidence, etc. The acceptable grounds for appeal include:
- There were “procedural irregularities” that impacted the investigation
- Important new evidence has emerged
- The sanctions imposed are not proportionate to the violations
Those seeking to appeal a ruling should have assistance from an attorney that is familiar with this area of practice. Your attorney may assist you with creating a persuasive and compliant written appeal.
Title IX Advisor Represents Vanderbilt Students in Title IX Actions
Are you a college or university student that is facing allegations related to sexual misconduct? Educational institutions today may impose harsh sanctions that can hinder your future. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 for assistance.