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What Is the Timeline of a Title IX Case?

Title IX is a civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination at schools receiving federal funding. Schools have established procedures for investigating and resolving complaints of Title IX violations, including sexual harassment or sexual assault. These cases, which can result in disciplinary measures being taken against an accused student, follow a multi-step process that can take weeks or months. If you are facing Title IX charges, you need to prepare yourself at the earliest possible stage.

Each school creates its own Title IX process, which must meet minimum standards required by federal regulations. Title IX proceedings are civil in nature. An accused student does not have all the rights afforded to defendants in criminal cases, such as the right to cross-examine the complainant. Also, the standard of proof for establishing a Title IX violation is a preponderance of the evidence, not proof beyond a reasonable doubt. There need only be a 51 percent likelihood that a violation occurred.

Although procedures vary school to school, there are typically six major steps in a Title IX case:

  1. Intake and review of the complaint — The school’s Title IX coordinator hears the complainant’s version of events and decides whether filing a formal complaint is warranted.
  2. Formal complaint — The accused student, known as the respondent, is notified of the charges. It is at this point that a Title IX defense lawyer should be retained.
  3. Investigation — The Title IX coordinator, or possibly another official, gathers all available evidence about the alleged events. Interviews are conducted of witnesses and other people that may have pertinent knowledge, including healthcare providers and school police. Documentary evidence such as emails, photos and videos is also collected. An investigatory report is prepared.
  4. Review of the evidence— The Title IX coordinator reviews the evidence and report and gives the respondent the opportunity to review them. The respondent is also permitted to submit contrary testimony and other evidence about the alleged events.
  5. Formal hearing — An appointed hearing officer or perhaps a panel of faculty members will hear the case. The hearing may take just a few hours or several days. The defense has the right to call witnesses and to cross-examine the school’s witnesses, except for the complainant.
  6. Decision and sanctions — The hearing officer or panel issues its findings. If a violation is found to have occurred, school officials decide on a disciplinary sanction, which can run from a verbal warning to loss of academic privileges and possibly to suspension or expulsion.

The respondent usually can appeal an adverse decision to a separately appointed committee. Depending on the school, appeals might be limited to showing procedural error, bias or unfairness.

Tylden Shaeffer, Attorney at Law, P.C. in San Antonio is highly experienced in representing students throughout south central Texas in Title IX cases. If you or a family member is facing a Title IX charge, contact us online or call (210) 227-1500 for a free initial consultation.

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