What Does Catherine Lhamon’s Appointment Mean for Students Accused of Title IX Violations?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 02, 2021 | 0 Comments

Being accused of a Title IX violation is no laughing matter and can result in serious long-term consequences. While President Obama was in office, the then-assistant secretary of education for civil rights, Catherine Lhamon, worked in the Department of Education as the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, expanding the Title IX regulation enforcement to meet her specific requirements without public comment or regulatory approval. During that time, as colleges and universities were fraught with sexual assault accusations, the new rules made it easy for universities to punish students without due process.

And now, she's back. President Biden has tapped Lhamon to return to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal regulation that creates a specific standard that all federally funded colleges and universities must uphold when managing sexual discrimination and sexual violence on their campus. These standards include:

  • Clear and immediate procedures for sexual misconduct allegations
  • Designated personnel to handle instances of sexual violence
  • In Title IX hearings, the standard of evidence should be “more likely than not” or “preponderance of the evidence"
  • Both parties involved should have access to the same procedures – advisors, appeals, and presentation of the evidence
  • Retaliation protection

Who is Catherina Lhamon?

Between 2013 and 2017, the OCR dictated how schools could handle sexual assault and assault allegations on campus. They were given specific instructions and informed by Lhamon that they would lose their federal funding if they did not comply or heed her commands. These threats resulted in administrations believing the complainants first, creating a bias against the accused students. They lowered the standard of evidence, restricted cross-examinations during hearings, and prevented schools from offering informal resolution proceedings. This level of control virtually destroyed due process and the ability to carry out fair proceedings.

With the changes to Title IX made last year, schools have a more balanced approach to handling Title IX violations. They can protect their students but also require a higher bar of evidence to protect accused students from false allegations. There are greater informal resolution processes, and the shift towards a more fair and due process is clear.

What Does This Mean for Students Accused of Title IX Violations Now?

Many are worried that with Lhamon back in power, she will again arbitrarily change the focus of Title IX to one that sets real and honest justice aside. These specific rules would again force schools to comply with or face the harsh threat of losing funding, resulting in the removal of accused students; their lives changed drastically forever.

If you or someone you love has been accused of a Title IX violation, contact Attorney Joseph D. Lento today. Attorney Lento has helped hundreds of students across the country successfully navigate Title IX accusations. Call 888-535-3686 today for a consultation, or schedule one online.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Attorney Lento and his team represent students and others in disciplinary cases and various other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Attorney Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he and his team have sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address any school-related issue or concern anywhere in the United States.


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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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