A college or university student can easily find themselves swept into a Title XI investigation. An allegation of student misconduct alone could have devastating consequences on your education, which in turn could damage your career prospects.
As this can be a stressful and scary situation, it is important to understand exactly what a Title IX investigation entails. It is also important to realize that an experienced Title IX defense attorney can act on your behalf during the Title IX investigation and hearing, fighting to prevent or soften any impact the allegations of student misconduct could have on your education.
Why Title IX Investigations of Student Misconduct Start
Under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, federal law requires that:
“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.”
Importantly, under Title IX, a college or university can be held liable in court if it is determined that the institution knew about and ignored sexual harassment or assault in any of its programs or activities.
As a result, Title IX essentially requires colleges and universities to investigate and resolve any sexual violence or sexual misconduct complaints and allegations independently of an actual criminal investigation conducted by a police agency. This means that, regardless if you are charged with a crime for your alleged misconduct, you could be subject to a Title IX investigation by the school you attend.
What Happens During a Title IX Investigation?
Title IX student misconduct investigations involve a fact-finding inquiry and sometimes a hearing. The goal of the investigation and/or hearing is to determine whether the alleged incident involving student misconduct took place.
If the student accused is found responsible, the next step for the school is to determine what actions it should take to end sexual violence, eliminate the hostile environment for both the students involved in the particular case and all students who attend the school, and prevent future student misconduct from taking place.
The Difference Between a Title IX Investigation and a Criminal Investigation
It is important to realize that a Title IX investigation is not a criminal investigation. This distinction is significant in terms of the possible consequences – a Title IX investigation will never result in incarceration for the preparator, but there could be dire penalties if you are a student found to have committed misconduct.
This distinction is also significant as the constitutional protections afforded an individual accused of a crime do not necessarily apply in Title IX cases. Specifically, the United States Constitution provides an accused person the following rights:
- The right to an attorney, even if you cannot afford to hire a private lawyer
- The right to be confronted by witnesses
- The right to a jury trial, and
- The right to be from self-incrimination
These are all important rights that could benefit you greatly in a criminal case. However, you do not necessarily have these rights in a Title IX matter. An experienced Title IX defense attorney can help you protect the rights you do have and navigate the complicated process involved in a Title IX student misconduct investigation.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Title IX Student Misconduct Hearing?
Title IX hearings are limited in the sense that schools are not currently required to allow for the cross-examination of witnesses. In fact, schools are often discouraged from allowing parties to personally question or cross examine each other during a Title IX hearing.
Generally, the only requirements are that:
- The Title IX hearing be prompt and impartial, and
- The school give the complainant (alleged victim) any rights it also provides the respondent (accused student)
While the U.S. Department of Education has currently proposed sweeping changes that would require due process and more equitable treatment for all parties, these proposed changes are still pending. This underscores the importance of hiring a seasoned attorney who is familiar with the Title IX process. A skilled Title IX defense attorney can make sure that you are being treated fairly by the school and help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
Contact an Experienced Title IX Attorney Today
As a student or family member of a student who is subject to a Title IX student misconduct investigation, it is imperative that you seek out an experienced attorney who can fight to protect your reputation and your ability to continue to attend college or university. At Wallin & Klarich, our knowledgeable attorneys have more than 35 years of experience successfully protecting the rights of our clients. Let us help you now.
With offices located in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Title IX defense attorney from Wallin & Klarich near you no matter where you work or live.
Call our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5425 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
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