Incidents of sexual misconduct are not an unusual occurrence on college campuses in the U.S. A study from the Association of American Universities found that slightly more than 20% of women are victims of sexual assault in college. Sexual assaults also impact roughly 6% of male college students and nearly 25% of those who consider themselves transgender or otherwise “nonconforming.”
What is Title IX?
Title IX was part of the Educational Amendments of 1972. The provisions prohibit acts of sexual discrimination in educational institutions in the U.S. The rules apply to all schools that are recipients of federal funding. When incidents such as sexual assault or harassment are reported, schools have an established protocol for investigating and potentially imposing penalties.
Role of a Personal Advisor
Students who are the subject of these disciplinary complaints are entitled to have a personal advisor that functions in a supportive role. This individual is not able to directly address the administrators that are hearing the evidence. The advisor is generally to assume a passive role in any formal proceedings. Having an experienced attorney as an advisor is likely to deliver positive results in some of the following ways:
- Independently reviewing the testimony, circumstances, and other evidence to identify facts that support your defense
- Being prepared for the hearing with an effective opening statement and the ability to confidently respond to questions
- Ensuring that the investigation and disciplinary procedures are properly adhered to and that your rights are protected
Low Burden of Proof
Another reason that having representation from an experienced attorney is important is that the burden of proof required in these matters comparatively low. In these actions, the allegations simply must be proven by the preponderance of the evidence standard. This equates to a finding that the student “more likely than not” committed the violation.
This standard is much easier to satisfy than those used in a criminal proceeding. In those cases, the standard is beyond a reasonable doubt, which involves a much higher level of certainty.
Disciplinary hearings are not intended to resemble criminal or civil court actions. They lack many formal procedures and processes; however, issues may arise that are potentially misinterpreted. One example in allegations associated with sexual assault is determining whether acts were consensual or not. Due to the consumption of alcohol, this assessment is often complex.
What Sanctions May Be Imposed?
Sanctions or penalties may range from minor to very significant. A student may lose various privileges or be placed on a probationary period. In more serious matters, the student may be suspended or even expelled from the university. Also, having evidence of these disciplinary actions on the student's record may hinder entrance into graduate programs and create other problems.
Attorney Defends Students in Title IX and Other Campus Disciplinary Matters
Has your daughter (or son) been notified that they are facing allegations such as sexual harassment or assault? Joseph D. Lento is a defense lawyer that has a wealth of experience in defending against these types of allegations. Promptly contact the office at (888) 535-3686 for assistance.