How Does a Student Disciplinary Process Work under Title IX?
If you have been informed that you are subject to a disciplinary hearing under Title IX due to a violation of your university or college’s code of conduct, you are likely wondering how to proceed. This article aims to give a little bit of introduction to Title IX as well as explain how the student disciplinary process under Title IX works.
Title IX is a federal program aimed at systematically removing gender-based bias and inequality from the U.S. College & University system. Conduct violations like sexual harassment and assault (including rape, date rape, violation of consent rules, etc) are handled under Title IX.
While Title IX is the overarching structure for resolution of sexual based violations, it generally turns the responsibility for defining violations and outlining consequences to the invidual educational institution. As a result, colleges and universities throughout the Atlanta area have a wide variety of definitions and consequences for sexual based offenses. This inconsistency from school to school makes preparing for a Title IX defense difficult. This is part of the reason why it is so helpful to have a trained and experienced advocate like Phyllis on your side.
How The Student DisciplinaryProcess Works Under Title IX (Generally)
Again, it’s important to note that each Atalanta area college and university can have its own process. However, you can typically count on these steps being followed for most disciplinary hearings under Title IX:
- Complaint - The process typically begins with a complaint filed through whatever channel your school makes available.
- Review - The complaint is reviewed for merit and the level of seriousness. For some mild infractions, you may simply be contacted for an informal discussion, ending the process here. However, for more significant allegations, the process will move on to an investigation.
- Investigation - Staff from the school will investigate the claim. At this point you might be given a no-contact order. If you are given a no-contact order it is critical that you understand exactly what that means. It ALWAYS means that you should be nowhere near the accuser. There may be some instances (living in the same building, similar class schedule) that make maintaining distance possible. Make sure you understand the order. Call me if you don’t. There are schools that include “prolonged eye contact” as a violation of a non-contact order.
- Formal Hearing - You will be called to a formal hearing. In almost every school, you will be allowed to bring an advocate with you. Having a member of the Phyllis Law team on your side in preparation for, and on the day of your hearing can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of your situation.
- Disciplinary Body - Once the hearing is concluded, a discipline will be decided and handed down. There are cases where this can be appealed. You may have a limited window of time to appeal, so again, contacting my office sooner than later is strongly advised.
Title IX Hearings Can Be Unpredictble - Don't Go Alone
In a single word, the Title IX process to resolve sex-based accusations is unpredictable. An attorney on your side makes a big difference because:
- There are times we can get involved with the investigation process and ensure witnesses who can support you are interviewed as well.
- The staff at school are not trained investigators or police officers. There are times when they overstep their boundaries. Oversight in the process can only help the accused.
- Prepare for the hearing and ensure that everything has been done to work towards the best outcome.
- Attend the hearing and help you answer questions, limit your exposure and protect your rights.
If you or a child has been accused of sexual misconduct at their college or university please contact my office immediately for a consultation.