Washington DC Title IX Advisor

Title IX law requires educational institutions to quickly remedy allegations of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct to protect their federal funding. Students alleged to have committed Title IX misconduct face strict grievance processes frequently subject to change through prevailing political winds.

A Title IX allegation can jeopardize students' academic careers, even if grievance procedures find them "not responsible." The severity of the situation can leave a student feeling isolated, but there is help at hand. If you are a student accused of Title IX misconduct at a District of Columbia school, you have the opportunity to choose an advisor to assist you in the process. That advisor can be—and should be—an experienced Title IX attorney that has the experience and comprehension to guide you through the investigative, hearing, and appeals processes.

What Is Title IX and How Does It Work?

The U.S. Congress passed Title IX legislation in 1972 as a federal civil rights law preventing discrimination based on sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. It's the primary mechanism K-12 schools and institutions of higher education use to manage sexual misconduct allegations.

The federal law also applies to various training programs and workshops like:

  • Photography courses taught by the Smithsonian Institution, funded through congressional appropriations
  • Teacher workshops managed by the District of Columbia's Rock Creek Park via funding from the Department of the Interior
  • Entrepreneurial training in the District of Columbia administered through the Small Business Association

Title IX Restructuring

The Title IX grievance process is structured to grant the accuser and the accused due process. However, many Trump-era enforcement guidelines like live hearings, formal reporting channels, and the cross-examination of witnesses risk removal by the Biden Administration. Moreover, the Department of Justice will add language to the law to "fully enforce civil rights laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation," per a White House press release.

New Title IX guidelines will also cover various forms of harassment that are now punishable under the law in addition to current violations:

  • Dating/Domestic violence
  • Stalking
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual discrimination
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Hazing
  • Bullying
  • Providing false information or failure to report Title IX misconduct

Differences Between Title IX Reporting In K-12 Schools and Postsecondary Institutions

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) requires all principals, grievance "points of contact," school staff, or members of the DCPS central office Comprehensive Alternative Resolution and Equity (CARE) Team to report instances of Title IX misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. Charter schools within the District of Columbia's KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) also require all employees to report.

Under current Title IX law, institutions of higher education may have mandatory reporting requirements for all faculty, staff, and part-time employees or designate only some to be official resources. While guidelines vary from school to school, they are in its employee handbook or student code of conduct.

A few examples of the differences in reporting requirements include:

  1. American University states "most employees" are considered "responsible employees" who must report Title IX allegations unless they are designated a "confidential resource."
  2. Georgetown University requires all employees, including part-time student employees, to report Title IX misconduct.
  3. The University of the District of Columbia designates any university vice president or dean as a "responsible person," thus required to report allegations.

How Does the Title IX Grievance Process Work?

Once a school's Title IX Coordinator is informed of allegations, the institution will have "actual knowledge" of the incident, and the grievance process will begin. While schools and programs differ on the amount of time given to certain aspects of the process—notices of investigations and hearings, response to evidence, appeals—most proceed similarly.

At Howard University, the investigation phase proceeds as follows:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the alleged victim (Complainant) to discuss the allegations. If the Title IX Coordinator dismisses the allegations, the school may still address the accused (Respondent) in any manner deemed sufficient per the school's code of conduct.
  2. The Title IX Coordinator informs the Respondent about the allegations and apprises them of their rights, including the right to be presumed "not responsible" and their right to choose an advisor.
  3. An Investigator(s) will be selected to gather evidence and interview the Complainant, Respondent, and witnesses involved.
  4. The Investigator(s) will send a preliminary report to both parties, who will have ten days to respond.

The hearing phase will begin once the final report is sent to the Title IX Coordinator.

  1. The Complainant and Respondent will have the opportunity to make an opening statement.
  2. The Decision-Maker(s) will permit each party's advisor to cross-examine the other party and witnesses. If any of them don't submit to cross-examination, the Decision-maker(s) cannot use any of their statements in their conclusion.
  3. The Complainant and Respondent may make closing remarks.
  4. The Decision-Maker(s) will base their determination of responsibility on the "preponderance of evidence" (greater than 50 percent convinced).

Parties may appeal due to only a few circumstances. At George Washington University, they include:

  • Procedural deviation affected the outcome of the case
  • New evidence emerges
  • Sanctions were disproportionate to the conduct
  • The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), or Decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias

How Can Title IX Consequences Affect You?

If a student is found responsible for Title IX misconduct, punishments are severe. Suspension will most likely be the minimum penalty, but responsible parties are typically expelled from the school or program.

Yet, consequences follow a student long after the end of their academic career. For example, an expelled student will have the offense detailed on their transcript, making admittance into another school challenging. Title IX violations also interfere with obtaining federal financial aid or private scholarships, hinder admission into graduate school, and may make some ineligible for professional licenses and jobs.

How Can a Title IX Attorney Help?

Title IX misconduct will endanger your future. If you're accused, you must defend yourself in a fast-paced process with complicated rules. Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento understands federal Title IX law fluctuations. He built his career on advising and defending students in the District of Columbia and from Title IX misconduct allegations across the country. His dedicated team at the Lento Law Firm knows how the administrative process works and can negotiate fair settlements for students to continue their studies.

If you're a student accused of Title IX misconduct in the District of Columbia, you need to act immediately. The school is well on its way to preparing its case, and you should be too. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or through its online form.

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If you, or your student, are facing any kind of disciplinary action, or other negative academic sanction, and are having feelings of uncertainty and anxiety for what the future may hold, contact the Lento Law Firm today, and let us help secure your academic career.

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