In recent years there have been widespread efforts to increase awareness and heighten enforcement of sexual misconduct in campus environments. Even so, the American Bar Association explained that approximately 30% of women who are college seniors have experienced nonconsensual sexual contact. A significant number of such incidents are never reported to the administration or agencies of law enforcement.
Title IX Overview
In 1972, the U.S. Department of Education implemented Title IX guidelines that seek to prevent many types of gender-related harassment and misconduct. These rules must be adhered to by educational institutions to maintain their eligibility for critical federal education funds. Schools must establish written guidelines for investigating complaints such as those involving sexual assault or harassment.
Title IX prohibits forms of sexual harassment. This is defined as unwanted behavior such as sexual advances, appeals for sexual favors, and other “verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct” that is sexual.
Sexual violence is a serious form of harassment that involves unwanted physical sexual actions. These acts may involve the use of force or coercion. They also may involve a victim that is incapable of giving consent to participate in sexual activity. This applies to victims who are too young, mentally disabled or incapable due to the effects of drugs or alcohol.
Importance of Promptly Contacting an Attorney
In far too many instances, students and/or parents underestimate the importance of effectively defending against these allegations. If your child is a college or university student that has received notification that they are the subject of a complaint, it is critical to be proactive. The best recipe for success is to have seasoned legal representation in place before any formal proceeding.
While an attorney can assist in the appeals process, it is much easier to defend and mitigate during the initial hearing process. Responding after an adverse ruling has been entered and sanctions have been imposed is more challenging.
Preparation is a Key
A knowledgeable defense lawyer will ensure that you are better prepared in a variety of ways including:
- Making sure that you can confidently deliver a convincing opening statement
- Ensuring you are prepared to effectively respond to questioning
- Your attorney is likely to identify evidence that supports your version of events
- Potentially engage in negotiations toward reaching a mutually agreeable resolution
Understanding the College or University's Position
The Title IX provisions are clear that schools must promptly act on and resolve these complaints or risk potential funding losses. Overworked administrators may make a rush to judgment and not properly recognize the due process rights of the accused. Having an attorney that is familiar with this area of legal practice will hold all those involved accountable.
Potential Sanctions and Penalties
Some of the commonly imposed sanctions include placing the student on probation or revoking their eligibility for student housing programs. Often the penalties will involve a suspension from the college or university--or even expulsion. There may be long-term ramifications that result from having this negative information on your student records.
Experienced Attorney Defends Against Allegations of Violating Title IX
Students facing Title IX complaints are entitled to choose anyone they want to act as their advisor. It is strongly recommended to retain an attorney for this critical role. Joseph D. Lento has many years of experience in these matters and will ensure your rights are protected. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 to get started.