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If you are a college student accused of sexual misconduct in violation of Title IX, you may face a litany of potential penalties that can leave a permanent mark on your college record, preventing you from entering graduate school and even affecting your future employment. Title IX disciplinary procedures can be complex and you need to respond quickly once a complaint has been filed against you.
Every university’s procedures for resolving complaints of Title IX violations must comply with federal regulations. Students formally charged with sexual misconduct may go through a comprehensive investigation. The school will assign an investigator to interview the accuser and accused to get both sides of the story. The investigator will speak with witnesses and review documents and evidence and then make an initial determination on the merits of the complaint. In many cases, a hearing will be held should the investigator find evidence of a violation. The case may be heard by a panel of school officials, such as deans, administrators and selected faculty members.
It should be understood by an accused student that a Title IX hearing will not meet the due process protections that one finds in a courtroom during a criminal case. Since Title IX is not a criminal proceeding, the standard of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt does not apply. The federal regulations require fundamental fairness to be maintained in a Title IX proceeding. However, schools sometimes provide limited procedural safeguards. At some colleges and universities, an administrator will determine an accused student’s responsibility without a hearing, simply by reviewing the evidence presented.
Students, both accused and accuser, may appeal a Title IX decision to a separate panel convened by the school. However, an appellant typically faces an uphill battle, since the appeals panel’s review of the case is usually very limited; and as such, an appellate review does not afford the student an opportunity to argue his or her case again to a higher level. Such a review is mostly limited to whether the school’s disciplinary procedures were followed. Some schools do allow a review of the case to consider whether the disciplinary sanction was appropriate, but many schools do not offer that recourse.
Title IX accusations can greatly affect your school transcript and your future. If you are a college student and have been accused of sexual misconduct on campus, you need to take prompt action. Disciplinary proceedings often move fast and you may be left with minimal options if you do not seek the counsel of an experienced Title IX defense attorney who can help you protect your rights throughout each step of the process.
Tylden Shaeffer, Attorney at Law, P.C. in San Antonio defends students accused of Title IX misconduct throughout Central Texas. Call us at (210) 227-1500 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.