Title IX states:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
In far too many schools across America, students with Title IX claims made against them are not given their right to due process during the proceedings.
Understanding the Legalities of Title IX
Since Title IX was first passed in 1972, it has modified over the years to include sexual misconduct as a form of discrimination. It requires any school receiving federal funding, which covers almost all public and private universities, to prevent any student from receiving their education and participating in any campus programs if accused and proven guilty.
Administrators are under pressure from students, activists, and the media to exhibit favorable bias toward the accuser without giving a fair look into the innocence of the accused.
This has resulted in a spike in the number of wrongful accusations against innocent students. Because of this rising problem, Wampler and Passanise proudly and vigorously represents students charged with Title IX violations to ensure no one is falsely accused.
False Allegations of Title IX Violations
Title IX is drilled into the minds of college and university students from the time they set foot on campus as freshmen. Despite the effort’s campuses make with assemblies, courses, and online training many college students still don’t know much about the legal ramifications of Title IX.
Often, it isn’t until students find themselves caught in the middle of a Title IX case that they become concerned with the legalities. And those accused of Title IX violations are not always assured of their due process rights.
Process for Handling Title IX Cases
A Title IX case begins when a student files a complaint stating that his/her rights have been violated to a school official. The school then conducts an investigation. Schools are required to engage in extensive and comprehensive investigations, to collect statements from any witnesses and suspects, and gather potential evidence before providing the accused with a fair hearing.
An accuser can take action against the university if he/she feels the case was dismissed without being properly handled or reviewed.
A Title IX complaint can be escalated when the accuser sends a complaint to the regional Office for Civil Rights within the US Department of Education. This complaint needs to be made within 180 days of the harassment or discrimination and must include the name of the university, date of the incident, personal information, and details of the discrimination with as much information as possible.
If a school is found guilty, it will be required to address the issue and find a solution. In some instances, schools face consequences such as losing federal funding of compensation for losses.
Potential Consequences for the Accused
While an investigation may not seem like a big deal, it can have irreparable effects on the accused. If a student or faculty member is found guilty, they may receive a written warning, disciplinary probation, change of residence halls, suspension or expulsion, loss of employment, loss of tenure, requirement to seek counseling, restitution, loss of scholarships, requirement of formal apology, and revocation or withholding of a degree.
Most will find that this not only impacts their reputation, but also disrupts their daily academic and professional responsibilities. These consequences can also have lasting effects and hinder the student’s ability to be admitted into another university or to find a job.
Even if the defendant is innocent, it can be hard to prove if universities have legal teams present for the accuser without offering the same protections to the accused. Being stripped of basic due process protections makes the appeals much more difficult to win.
In the court of public opinion that is present on most college campuses, presumption of guilt is highly likely when a faculty member or student is accused of misconduct. These preconceived notions can be extremely hard to overcome, making it vital to hire an attorney for your defense.
Defending Yourself or a Loved Ones Against Title IX Allegations
If you (or your son or daughter) have been accused of Title IX violations, you should contact your attorney immediately. Accused students can face many difficulties including more than a year of investigations and hearings, gaining a negative reputation, and the chaos of the related processes.
Having a defense lawyer there to ensure that the student’s rights are upheld can help mitigate all of these impacts. An attorney will serve as a middleman, ensuring the disciplinary process is kept confidential, and be an aggressive advocate for the accused through every step of the process.
If a lawyer is representing the accused, they should not communicate with anyone else about the case. Even posting about it on social media or discussing it with a friend, could be detrimental to the outcome of the case. Administrative hearings often rely on hearsay because cases do not need to be factually verified through police investigations as they do in a court of law.
Beyond this, the accused and family should remain calm throughout the entirety of the case. They will be judged on how they present themselves, making it extremely important not to confront or lash out against an accuser.
It is essential that accurate records be maintained. Request any information needed and do not delete any text messages or emails that may be pertinent to the case.
While following these actions can be helpful, they cannot replace the counsel of an attorney. Promptly reaching out to a lawyer is the best thing the accused or parents can do to ensure the accused’s rights are being upheld.