When a college or university charges a student with Title IX sexual misconduct, federal laws and regulations, like those at 34 CFR Section 106, require that the school's decision-makers remain neutral. But many accused students find that the decision-makers aren't neutral at all. And now, after a recent blog by the President of the Association of Title IX Administrators, they have more evidence for how these supposedly “neutral” decision-makers unfairly bend the proceedings in favor of the accuser and against the accused.
The President of the Association of Title IX Administrators leads a consulting firm that trains college and university Title IX administrators, including the supposedly “neutral” Title IX hearing officers. No one holds greater influence over how colleges and universities conduct their Title IX hearings. Indeed, the President's consulting firm boasts no fewer than 5,000 education-sector clients. So, what does the President's blog recommend that's so concerning?
How “Neutral” Decision-Makers Work for the Accuser
The President's blog decries the fact that many college and university Title IX hearings take place not just weeks but months after the alleged misconduct, by which time the complaining witnesses can't keep their stories straight:
"Witnesses have very little recollection of what happened, or what they told investigators during the investigation. As a result, in the hearings we are facilitating, we are seeing a lot of witnesses contradict their statements to investigators, without even realizing it. They come across as lacking credibility, when the real issue is often that so much time has passed that their recollections have dimmed."
An accused student needs time to prepare to defend Title IX charges. But the President acknowledges that by the time of the hearing, complaining witnesses often contradict the accounts they initially gave to the Title IX coordinator or investigator. Those contradictions undermine the complaining witnesses' credibility, resulting in lost cases and dismissed charges. So, here's what the President's blog recommends so that the witnesses keep their stories straight:
- “Stay in touch with the witnesses throughout the resolution process to keep them engaged”
- “Provide witnesses with copies of their investigation statements/interviews prior to the hearings to ensure they are refreshed on their testimony”
- “Text and email the witnesses several times during the week before the hearing to keep them engaged”
- Ask the parties “to contact the witnesses to encourage their participation….”
Why Neutral Decision-Makers Shouldn't Coach Witnesses
These practices are obviously not neutral. No judge or jury in a court of law would ever do what the President recommends and trains supposedly “neutral” Title IX college and university hearing officers to do. Court witnesses somehow manage to remember the truth months and even years after the events to which they testify. College and university students don't have any particular disability remembering the truth. While party representatives may appropriately keep in touch with witnesses, supposedly “neutral” hearing officers should definitely not do so. If you think your Title IX hearing officer or officers may be biased, then you now have all the more proof of why.
Retain premier national Title IX defense attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm to cross-examine unreliable complaining witnesses and for your other aggressive and effective defense of college or university Title IX charges. Attorney Lento and his expert team have defended hundreds of students in school Title IX proceedings nationwide and they can help you. Call 888-535-3686 or go online now.