Students facing Title IX violations enter a world filled with critical, long-lasting consequences, even if they're found "not responsible" for the allegations brought forth against them. Schools are forced to act quickly, and if the institution doesn't hand down severe enough punishments, they can lose their federal funding. If you or someone you love is accused of a Title IX violation in Wisconsin or elsewhere, you need to take the situation seriously.
Title IX is intimidating. A student's entire academic career is in jeopardy, and they must defend themselves under strict guidelines that aren't just complex but constantly fluctuating in the political climate. Only a Title IX attorney has the experience and comprehension to assist a student through the investigative, hearing, and appeals process.
How Does Title IX Work?
Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed by Congress in 1972 that prohibits discrimination based on sex and gender in any federally funded education program or activity. It's the sole method by which colleges, universities, and primary and secondary schools discipline sexual misconduct and harassment and any workshops and training programs that receive funding from the U.S. government.
For example, public institutions of higher education in Wisconsin like the University of Wisconsin, Blackhawk Technical College, and others use the Title IX system. Yet, so will entrepreneurial workshops sponsored by the state's department of labor that receives funding from the federal government's Small Business Administration, or vocational training classes conducted in prisons and jails receiving money from the Department of Justice. Generally, Title IX covers all facets of the educational program, including admissions, employment, and the treatment of program participants. It also covers vendors conducting business with the school or program.
In 2021, the Biden Administration announced the reversal of many Trump-era enforcement guidelines. Current rules that equally protect both the accused and the accuser—cross-examination of witnesses, live hearings, and strict reporting guidelines—are set to be overturned. The Biden Administration's new Title IX guidelines also cover transgender and gender-nonconforming students and include various forms of harassment that are now punishable under the law.
Title IX Violations
- Sex/Gender discrimination
- Sexual harassment/exploitation
- Sexual assault
- Domestic/Dating violence
- Providing false information or refusal to comply with Title IX process/personnel
How Does the Process Work?
- Under current Title IX law, colleges and universities may institute mandatory reporting for all faculty and staff or designate only some employees to be confidential resources. For instance, Wisconsin Lutheran College mandates all faculty and staff to report allegations to the school's Title IX Coordinator. Title IX requires all employees at K-12 schools to report violations.
- When the Title IX Coordinator is informed of the allegations, the institution or program is considered to have "actual knowledge" of the incident or situation, thus beginning grievance procedures.
- The Title IX Coordinator will contact the alleged victim (complainant) to discuss the allegations within a "deliberately indifferent" timeframe. If the Title IX Coordinator dismisses the allegations, the school administration is still allowed to address them in any manner deemed sufficient under its code of conduct.
- The accused (respondent) is then informed by the Title IX Coordinator about the allegations and apprised of their rights, including the right to be presumed "not responsible" in the matter and their right to choose an advisor that doesn't have to be—but should be—an attorney.
- An Investigator will be selected who must not be the same person as the Title IX Coordinator, who interviews both parties in the matter, gathers evidence, and interviews any witnesses involved. Everything collected by the Investigator must be sent to both parties, who will have ten days to analyze the information and respond.
- Colleges and universities must provide a live hearing (optional in K-12). The Decision-Maker(s) will permit each party's advisor to cross-examine the other party and witnesses. If any of them doesn't submit to cross-examination, the Decision-maker(s) cannot use any of their statements in reaching their conclusion.
- The Decision-Maker(s) will base their determination of responsibility on the "preponderance of evidence" (at least 50 percent convinced) or "clear and convincing evidence" standard (evidence must be substantially greater than 50 percent). Each school decides which standard they use.
- Both the complainant and the respondent can appeal the decision within a relatively vague timeframe of "reasonably prompt," which could be as short as ten days. Nevertheless, parties can only file appeals due to a few circumstances:
- Discovery of new evidence
- Procedural irregularities
- Title IX personnel conflict of interest/bias
What's at Stake?
Punishments for Title IX violations are normally harsh, going far beyond school-mandated counseling, written or verbal warnings, and probation.
Suspension is usually the minimum accepted punishment for violations of this kind. The school may also notate the nature of the offense in the student's transcript, making it even more challenging to gain admission at another Wisconsin school or elsewhere while they're separated from their studies, effectively ending the student's academic career. For example, the Medical College of Wisconsin will report findings to external agencies such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), and other institutions in response to requests for reference information.
A student, employee, or vendor of a Title IX institution may also face:
- Occupational position change
- Loss of employment
- Loss of tenure
- Revocation of financial aid
- Rescinding/Withholding of a degree
- Denial of professional license
How Can an Attorney Help You?
Schools cannot restrict parties in a Title IX investigation from discussing the allegations at hand or gathering evidence in the case. Once you are notified of a Title IX allegation, the school will be well on its way toward preparing its case, and you should be too.
Skilled Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento has defended hundreds of students in Wisconsin, and across the U.S. Attorney Lento spends every day speaking with school administration officials, protecting his clients' rights, and negotiating fair settlements. If you or someone you love attends a program in Wisconsin and faces Title IX accusations, contact the Lento Law Firm today at 888-555-3686 or through its online form.
Wisconsin colleges and universities where Joseph D. Lento can help as your or your student's Title IX advisor during investigations, hearings, and appeals include, but are not limited to, the following schools:
- Alverno College
- The Art Institute of Wisconsin
- Bellin College
- Beloit College
- Blackhawk Technical College
- Bryant and Stratton College Glendale
- Bryant and Stratton College Milwaukee
- Bryant and Stratton College Wauwatosa
- Cardinal Stritch University
- Carroll University
- Carthage College
- Chippewa Valley Technical College
- College of Menominee Nation
- Concordia University Wisconsin
- DeVry University Wisconsin
- Edgewood College
- Fox Valley Technical College
- Gateway Technical College
- Globe University Appleton
- Globe University Eau Claire
- Globe University Green Bay
- Globe University La Crosse
- Globe University Madison East
- Globe University Madison West
- Globe University Wausau
- Herzing University Brookfield
- Herzing University Kenosha
- Herzing University Madison
- ITT Technical Institute Green Bay
- ITT Technical Institute Greenfield
- ITT Technical Institute Madison
- Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College
- Lakeland College
- Lakeshore Technical College
- Lawrence University
- Madison Area Technical College
- Madison Media Institute
- Maranatha Baptist Bible College
- Marian University
- Marquette University
- Mid State Technical College
- Milwaukee Area Technical College
- Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
- Milwaukee School of Engineering
- Moraine Park Technical College
- Mount Mary College
- Nicolet Area Technical College
- Northcentral Technical College
- Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
- Northland College
- Northland International University
- Ripon College
- Saint Norbert College
- Sanford Brown College West Allis
- Silver Lake College of the Holy Family
- Southwest Wisconsin Technical College
- University of Phoenix Madison Campus
- University of Phoenix Milwaukee Campus
- University of Wisconsin Colleges
- University of Wisconsin Eau Claire
- University of Wisconsin Green Bay
- University of Wisconsin La Crosse
- University of Wisconsin Madison
- University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
- University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
- University of Wisconsin Parkside
- University of Wisconsin Platteville
- University of Wisconsin River Falls
- University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
- University of Wisconsin Stout
- University of Wisconsin Superior
- University of Wisconsin Whitewater
- Viterbo University
- Waukesha County Technical College
- Western Technical College
- Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College
- Wisconsin Lutheran College
Title IX violations and Title IX charges can change an accused student's life if not defended against properly and as early as possible during the disciplinary process, and Joseph D. Lento has nearly a decade of experience passionately fighting for the future of his clients at universities and colleges throughout the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead, prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph Lento is a licensed attorney in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is admitted as an attorney pro hac vice in state and federal court if needed when representing clients nationwide, and serves as a Title IX advisor and educational consultant to students facing disciplinary cases in Wisconsin and throughout the nation. Make certain your or your student's interests are protected - Contact National Title IX attorney Joseph D. Lento today.