What should I do if my college/university has charged me with a Title IX violation?
Don’t panic. Jonathan Cook can help you and your family through this difficult situation with as little interruption to your education as possible. Jonathan has handled student defense cases spanning the Title IX spectrum at colleges and universities all over the United States. Jonathan has demonstrated the ability to successfully defend students in the University hearing room. Charges successfully defended include alleged rape, sexual violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking and domestic violence. Jonathan also advocates on behalf of complainants and survivors. As your advisor, Jonathan can help you navigate every stage of the disciplinary process whether you have just received a notice of charge(s) or you are seeking to appeal a decision.
What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.) protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX requires your college or university to investigate complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence.
Title IX provides:
"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." See Office for Civil Rights Title IX and Sex Discrimination. Sexual harassment and sexual violence (including rape and sexual assault) are considered discrimination under Title IX when "so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively bars the victim's access to an educational opportunity or benefit. " Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Educ., 526 U.S. 633 (1999).
Students' rights in Title IX campus disciplinary proceedings and hearings vary according to state laws and statutes, and student handbooks and manuals. However, some basic rights are universal.
You have the right to a “prompt, fair and impartial” investigation and resolution. Every College and University, whether public or private, must provide an equitable process to both the complainant and the accused. See Campus SaVE Act. IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT THE RULES GOVERNING TITLE IX SEXUAL MISCONDUCT PROCEEDINGS MAY CHANGE FOLLOWING NOTICE AND COMMENT PERIOD DUE TO SECRETARY OF EDUCATION BETSY DEVOS’ PROPOSALS. The changes will enhance protections for the accused in important ways, but may take away equally important remedies for complainants and survivors. This page will be edited as needed pursuant to any rule changes impacting complainants and respondents.
You have the right to a confidential disciplinary process. Disciplinary records are part of your education record and thus protected by federal privacy statutes with some exceptions an experienced Student Defense Attorney can help you understand. See FERPA.
You have the right to notice of and access to your College's or University's written disciplinary policies and procedures.
At public institutions ("state schools"), you have the Constitutional right to fundamental Due Process including notice and the opportunity to be heard.
Private Colleges and Universities do not have to provide Due Process, but the vast majority of private schools' judicial systems provide for notice and some kind of hearing. Some schools have adopted the Singe Investigator Model as opposed to the Hearing Panel Model. An experienced Student Defense Attorney can advise as to the pros and cons of each.
You have the right to an equal opportunity to provide evidence and potential witnesses.
You have the right to an investigation and resolution process conducted by administrators with proper training to handle sexual harassment and sexual violence cases.
You have the right to have an advisor of your choice present with you throughout your disciplinary proceedings. This includes the initial interview and subsequent interviews with the College or University investigator.
You have the right to be free from retaliation for exercising your rights.
You have the right to the counseling and mental heath services available on campus.
Other rights and protections may be mandated as well, depending on the kind of academic institution. Contact Jonathan to learn more of the rights and protections afforded to accused students at your school.
Does Title IX Apply to My Educational Institution?
Title IX applies to universities and educational institutions that receive federal funding. The vast majority of educational institutions in the country, including both public and private universities, receive some type of federal funding. For-profit schools including the University of Phoenix, Strayer University, Bay State College, and Porter and Chester Institute are also covered, as are technical education agencies, libraries and even museums.
These materials have been prepared by SRT for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.