A 1972 Federal law, Title IX, is a powerful tool put into place to combat campus violence. This law requires all colleges, universities, and high schools who receive federal funding to combat any form of gender-based harassment or abuse. Title IX is a statute providing guidance from the United States Department of Education and the Supreme Court to respond to survivors' needs of sexual harassment or sexual assault that has occurred on any federally funded school's campus. If any school fails to respond to these complaints and does not take immediate action to remedy the situation, it could lose its federal funding.
The Title IX statute covers any physical abuse or sexual violence as defined under California law. This offense could have been committed by an employee of the institution, an enrolled student, or a member of the public while on school or college-owned and controlled property. It covers incidents that may have occurred at school-sponsored or supervised events. Any person found in violation of Title IX is subject to all applicable punishments, including civil or criminal prosecution as well as student or employee discipline procedures.
What is a College Disciplinary Proceeding?
Every university or college in the State of California has a code of conduct all students are required to follow. If one violates these rules, it can result in disciplinary action that can result in a disciplinary violation. These violations are not minor, and their repercussions can affect you while in school and after you graduate.
If you are accused of alleged misconduct under Title IX, you will be required to attend a disciplinary hearing. It is imperative you seek legal counsel immediately from San Diego License Attorney, so an effective defense against these allegations can be put in motion to protect your educational opportunities, future employment, and reputation. These proceedings will be different from a courtroom hearing, and you need a seasoned attorney working with you through all stages of these proceedings.
Each college has its own code of conduct, but the main differences lay in how each investigates and proceeds with their disciplinary hearings. Some of the common offenses that will trigger an allegation leading to your disciplinary action include:
- Hazing is a big part of the college experience, but if you are found to be part of an event that became dangerous, you will face severe disciplinary actions.
- Sexual harassment and assault
- Sexual misconduct is one of the more severe allegations you can face. These allegations can be a result of an assault, stalking, harassment, or rape. You will not only be facing disciplinary actions from the school; you can also face outside legal consequences such as criminal or civil proceedings. Title IX pressures schools to act vigorously and quickly to enforce their code of conduct, and in many cases, the cards are stacked against the accused.
- Underage drinking
- One of the most common violations on a college campus is underage drinking. Though it is common, it is still taken seriously, and disciplinary violations for underage drinking often lead to eviction from your on-campus housing. This consequence can affect your performance in school and is frowned upon by potential employers when they see the mark on your records.
- Academic misconduct such as cheating, plagiarizing, or falsifying school documents is taken very seriously by the disciplinary board. Being found guilty of these forms of misconduct can put a black mark on your academic record and reduce your opportunities for finding a suitable profession once you graduate.
- Drug use
- Possession of a firearm or knife
- Hate crimes
If found guilty for violating any of these school policies, you are facing severe consequences which could include any of one or more of these:
- Community service
Your need for knowledgeable legal counsel comes from the fact that your fate will be in the hands of college officials without proper legal representation. These officials have no training on how to conduct an investigation and have no knowledge of relevant or credible evidence. These officials have not been trained on how to provide unbiased, just or arbitrary decisions. Without a proper legal defense, you could be facing damages that will affect your chance of graduating or being able to pursue your professional goals.
Protection of Title IX
Under Title IX, a student and employee of an educational institute are given the right to be free from unlawful retaliation, sexual harassment, or gender discrimination. This statute protects all from gender discrimination against males, females, and transgender individuals. Under section 8 of this statue, there is also protection to students who are parents. This section implies that if your school offers mother-daughter activities to staff and students, it then has to provide father-son opportunities.
There is also protection from discrimination or harassment to anyone filing an allegation of unlawful conduct under this statute. Examples of adverse effects that could happen to an alleged victim filing a complaint include:
- Being denied an opportunity to participate in athletics
- Being placed in a less-than-desirable position within a team sport
- Being harassed on the athletic field or classroom
- Being expelled or suspended from a program or the school
- Having grades lowered in academic courses
- Or any other detrimental effect of classes or activities on the campus
College Disciplinary Procedures
With a college disciplinary action, the vice president and student success services are generally responsible for administering disciplinary procedures. When an allegation is received regarding a violation of college policy or violation of Title IX, it is accepted for consideration if the apparent infraction has been performed on college property or a location where the school provides services.
Any individual can submit reports or allegations of an alleged student's violation of published college regulations to the dean of student success services or enrollment services. It will become the dean of student services’ responsibility to clarify the alleged misconduct with regard to the documented regulations and then identify specific charges to be brought against the accused.
Most universities and college's structure of their disciplinary process is flexible, but they do have to follow federal guidelines. Under Title IX, the procedures must be reliable, prompt, adequate, and incorporate equal opportunities for both parties involved. If the reported offense falls under violation of Title IX, an investigation into allegations must be completed within sixty days.
As part of the investigation, any evidence presented by the accuser is reviewed along with any evidence received from the accused. Once both sides’ evidence is reviewed, a final investigation report is created to summarize the evidence provided. This report is the basis for determining if a crime has been committed or not. If it is deemed a crime, the police are notified. The police are then going to conduct their criminal investigation, which usually begins with a phone call from the accuser to the accused. The police will listen to and record this phone conversation. The police will contact you separately on their next step in the process.
Once the school has completed its report and contacted the police, they will impose a sanction based on school policy. The report will then be sent to the accused and accuser by email as to which sanctions have been imposed. These sanctions can include one or more of these:
- A warning
- Community service
- Deferred suspension
- Removal from school housing
If the allegations do not fall under Title IX but are in violation of the school's rule of conduct, they will be reviewed. The charges will be specified, and any necessary information will be obtained. Once this information is gathered, the dean will hold an administrative hearing to include the nature and source of the charges along with the student's responsibilities and rights. Following this hearing, the dean of services can impose appropriate sanctions. These sanctions can be appealed either through an administrative hearing by the Vice president, or a hearing before the Student-Faculty Judiciary Committee.
During these procedures, you should have San Diego License Attorney present to defend your rights. Allegations of violating Title IX are extremely serious. When school disciplinary proceedings are challenged, most lose when they are brought before a court review. These proceedings have a very low evidentiary standard and often give short shrift to the presumption of innocence and other rights of the accused.
Common Questions regarding College Disciplinary and Title IX Proceedings
Q: What should I do if I’ve been notified a Title IX claim has been made against me?
A: Universities and colleges aggressively pursue charges under Title IX, and the stakes are quite high. Some do not realize how much is at stake for you both immediately and for your long-term future. If you have been notified a Title IX claim is being made against you, you need to take necessary precautions to ensure a favorable outcome.
Your best course of action is to try and obtain an acceptable result at the Title IX disciplinary level. Do not wait and try to appeal it after you've been found responsible for the charges. Trying to mitigate the damages after you have been sanctioned is a mistake. These proceedings are going to move quickly. Your best solution is to obtain an advisor and contact San Diego License Attorney to receive objective guidance, help you make strategic decisions and prepare you for the school interviews and hearings. An attorney will make sure the school follows all Title IX procedures and policies. They can also give you the legal support you need to get through this challenging time.
Q: Who can make a Title IX claim against me?
A: Any university or college student who feels they have been violated under the protection of Title IX can file an allegation. This claim can be filed against you, even if you leave the university, college, or have graduated. The claim can also be filed against a student organization, student, staff member, or teacher.
They can also file a civil lawsuit at the same time as the Title IX complaint is pending with the school. If they choose to do this; however, the lawsuit could delay the investigation into the Title IX complaint.
Q: How long after an incident has occurred, can a Title IX complaint be filed?
A: Generally, a complaint about a violation of Title IX rights must be filed within 180 days of the most recent harassment, assault, or discrimination. This time limit can be extended if a good cause is found to delay the claim.
If one is also filing a civil lawsuit, this may include violations under your State laws, and they may have different statute of limitations. There can also be additional time limits when filing a lawsuit against a public university as a government entity. Your San Diego License Attorney can explain the time limits for filing these lawsuits.
Q: Why should I obtain a Title IX defense attorney?
A: In recent years, Title IX cases have been undergoing controversy due to the injustices suffered by those accused of sexual misconduct on university and college campuses. In most cases, the university or college will conduct an internal Title IX investigation along with a disciplinary hearing and find the accused student, or faculty member guilty of committing sexual misconduct. This result is found without giving the accused a fair hearing under the law.
The Title IX disciplinary process is complicated. As an accused person, you will become overwhelmed if you do not have experienced counsel guiding you through the process. Most schools will provide you with an advisor who is reported to have been trained in these matters; the truth is they are still an employee of the school. These individuals can have biased opinions, and any information you provide to them can be used against you in the Title IX investigation. This same information can also be used against you during a criminal prosecution.
It is to your advantage not to discuss the case with any employee of the school and to contact San Diego License Attorney for all legal guidance. The Title IX policy of your school may not meet the government's requirements for fairness, and a skilled attorney will be able to find these discrepancies. Even though you may feel you understand the policy, it is highly possible that you do not understand how to deal with any areas that are unfair. Each college and university has its own set of requirements. It is possible that your attorney could find your school's policy is discriminatory, or its application is not fair. If this is discovered, your attorney could stop all investigating or disciplinary actions by filing a 'litigation hold' letter with your school.
Having a knowledgeable attorney working with you that understands the complexity of the laws surrounding Title IX and your school's code of conduct will help you prepare for any investigation and hearing. You will want their advice before providing the school with any statements or information that could possibly be used against you. A San Diego License Attorney can review the details of your case and help you to understand and prepare for the charges against you.
Q: Can I appeal an outcome of Title IX?
A: Yes, you can appeal an unfavorable outcome of Title IX under three grounds:
- The facts presented regarding the investigation were false
- The sanction you received is not proportionate to the conduct you’ve been accused of
- New evidence has surfaced which would support a different outcome of your case
The appeal would have to be filed within five to ten days after the sanction has been issued. If the appeal is favored, the sanction can be modified. If you do not file an appeal, the decision becomes final.
The disciplinary process on university and college campuses are drastically different from those of a civil or criminal case handled in court. Some are calling these proceedings' arbitrary tribunals' as students are being denied the right to a fair hearing, the ability to question their accuser or access to an attorney.
The consequences of this flawed process are life-altering for those wrongly accused. They can suffer repercussions such as being cut-off from acceptance into medical, law, or other graduate schools even if they have good grades and otherwise unblemished academic record. For a faculty member found liable for these charges, they will find it next to impossible to find new employment. If you do not get a court order to countermand the school’s sanction, you have no other recourse than accepting the sanctions placed upon you.
Find Help For College Disciplinary and Title IX Proceedings Near Me
At San Diego Licensing Attorney, we are here to help defend you against charges under Title IX and get you through your school's disciplinary process. Call us at 619-728-7448 because we understand the nature of the accusations you are facing and realize how the consequences could alter your life. We are committed to advocating for any student or faculty member who has been wrongly accused and will fight to protect your rights and future.