Title IX applies to both students and staff at schools, colleges and universities who receive Federal funding, and it requires these institutions to take various actions related to conducting investigations into reports of sexual misconduct. These actions include ensuring that all parties involved in an investigation are treated fairly and with respect, providing timely updates regarding the status of investigations, taking appropriate action in response to any findings of wrongdoing, and taking steps to prevent future incidents of misconduct on campus.
Additionally, Title IX also protects individuals from retaliation for reporting sexual misconduct or participating in an investigation into such behavior. Discrimination based on gender is strictly prohibited under Title IX, and any individual who is found to have engaged in such behavior can be subject to disciplinary action.
How is Title IX Different from Criminal Proceedings?
A Title IX investigation is an administrative process that is separate from criminal proceedings, and is typically used to address allegations of sexual misconduct in educational institutions.
1. Title IX is a civil law, not criminal
Title IX is a civil law that is designed to protect students and employees from sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination in schools and workplaces. Unlike criminal law, where judges and juries decide guilt or innocence, under Title IX, guilt or innocence is typically determined by Title IX coordinators and hearing boards made up of a panel of school employees. The rules of evidence also differ from that of criminal proceedings, as well as protection of the rights of the accused. Even though the Title IX officer might tell you that you don't have the right to stay silent because this is an administrative proceeding, it's still a good idea not to say anything until you talk to a lawyer.
2. Title IX proceedings are confidential and not open to the public.
Unlike in criminal proceedings, confidentiality is an important part of the Title IX process. Under Title IX, proceedings are typically not open to the public, and both the complainant (the one making the accusations) and the respondent (the accused) are typically entitled to keep the proceedings confidential. This means that only people who need to know about the proceedings will be told about them. Confidentiality protections help to ensure that people feel comfortable coming forward with concerns and that the process is fair for everyone involved. If you have questions about confidentiality, you should talk to your Title IX coordinator. They will be able to answer any questions you have about how confidentiality will be handled in your particular situation.
4. The school, rather than law enforcement, is responsible for investigating allegations of sexual misconduct
In criminal proceedings, it is up to law enforcement to conduct a criminal investigation in order to determine who is responsible. However, when an incident occurs on a college campus, the investigation is typically conducted by school staff rather than law enforcement. This is because colleges and universities are responsible for ensuring that their students remain safe and protected from harm. As a result, they have developed their own disciplinary processes for dealing with incidents of sexual misconduct. These processes typically involve an investigation by school staff in order to determine whether or not the accused student violated the school's code of conduct. If it is determined that the student did violate the code of conduct, they may be subject to sanctions such as expulsion from the school.
5. There is a lower standard of proof in Title IX proceedings than in criminal proceedings
One major difference between a Title IX investigation and criminal proceedings is the burden of proof required for each. In a Title IX investigation, the standard of evidence used is a preponderance of the evidence, meaning that evidence must show that it is more likely than not that sexual misconduct occurred. In contrast, criminal proceedings use the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, which means that there must be strong evidence to support the allegations against an individual. As a result, Title IX proceedings are less rigorous and provide fewer protections for the accused. This can be unfair to those who are accused of a Title IX violation, as they may be found guilty even if there is some doubt about their guilt. However, it is important to remember that Title IX proceedings are not criminal proceedings, and the standard of proof reflects this.
What can you expect in a Title IX investigation?
As Title IX coordinators and investigators gather information regarding the allegations, they will likely interview both the accused individual (the student or staff alleged to have committed sexual misconduct, or respondent) and the complainant. It is important to remember that these investigations are not criminal in nature; therefore, a person's right against self-incrimination does not apply.
During this process, it is typical for an accused student to also receive no contact orders from the university. These orders instruct him or her to have no verbal or nonverbal communication with the complainant. If an accused student violates a no contact order, he or she could be subject to additional sanctions.
Once the evidence has been gathered, a decision-making process is undertaken to determine if it supports a finding of responsibility for sexual misconduct. This can include interviewing witnesses and reviewing documents or other physical evidence. At the conclusion of this investigation, both parties will be given an opportunity to provide feedback about their experience during the investigation. In most cases, either an interim suspension or no contact order will remain in effect until after final determinations are made by the Title IX coordinator/investigator and any applicable hearing board.
What is the role of an Advisor in a Title IX investigation?
A Title IX Advisor is present with a party during all meetings related to the Title IX case, advises them on how to conduct themselves throughout the process, and if necessary, cross-examines the other party at a hearing. The role of an advisor in a Title IX investigation is to act as a guide and advisor for either the complainant or accused throughout this process. An advisor can provide important support and guidance to help ensure that their party's rights are protected during this complicated and sensitive process. However, it is important to remember that they will not be able to speak on behalf of either the complainant or accused during the investigatory interview. Ultimately, it is up to each individual involved in a Title IX investigation to make their own decisions throughout this process with the advice of their advisor.
Why you should hire an Attorney to represent you as a Title IX Advisor
It's important to remember that Title IX investigations aren't criminal in nature, so your Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination doesn't apply. That means you can't refuse to answer questions just because you might get in trouble later. When you go through a Title IX investigation, it's important to know that you have some rights. Most criminal defense lawyers tell their clients not to speak to the Title IX officer because whatever you say could be used in court if law enforcement gets involved. Even though the Title IX officer might tell you that you don't have the right to stay silent because this is an administrative proceeding, it's still a good idea not to say anything until you talk to a lawyer.
Title IX proceedings can lack due process, and investigators often fail to address favorable evidence presented by the accused. At present, there is some controversy over how universities handle allegations of sexual misconduct, especially when it comes to due process rights for accused students. Some argue that these investigations are often biased against accused individuals and lack adequate protections provided by the court system. Others, however, argue that it is important to protect the safety and well-being of victims by thoroughly investigating sexual misconduct allegations.
Regardless of one's position on this debate, it is clear that due process is an essential component of any Title IX investigation. Without due process, there is a risk that innocent individuals could be wrongly punished or that victims will not receive the justice they deserve. Thus, it is imperative that due process rights are protected in all Title IX proceedings with a skilled attorney advisor.
While not a court of law, Title IX proceedings are still adversarial in nature. Trial attorneys are skilled in areas such as cross examination and trial strategy, which are essential elements in Title IX cases.
Any student caught in a Title IX investigation can find themselves in a very difficult position. A university investigation carries a much lower burden of proof than that found in the criminal justice system. Therefore, it is important to have an experienced advisor who can guide you through the process and ensure that your rights are protected.
Who we represent
We act as an advisor in the Title IX process, representing anyone who believes that their Title IX rights have been violated. This includes:
Students: Students who have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or a violation of the code of conduct at an educational institution, as well as students who believe they have a claim against another student or staff member for sexual harassment or sexual assault.
Institution Staff: Staff members who believe they have a claim of sexual harassment or discrimination against the institution pertaining to their employment.
Players and Coaches: Players and coaches who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of gender in regards to their educational institution.
While Title IX lays out general regulations and procedures for schools to follow, it is up to the institution to implement their own framework . For this reason, policies and procedures can differ based on the specific school's policies.
It is important to have an experienced advisor who can guide you through the Title IX process and ensure that your rights are protected. An attorney can serve as your representative throughout the process, helping you understand your rights and what you can expect in the events leading up to and following a hearing. With the guidance of an experienced legal professional, you can be confident that your rights will be fully represented during this stressful time and that your voice will not be drowned out by institutional bias or other obstacles.
If you find yourself in this situation, please contact us at (978) 744-1220 for a free consultation. We will review your case, and provide advice and representation throughout the entire Title IX process.
Most people equate Title IX with gender equality in school sports and education, but Title IX goes beyond that. In addition to gender equality, Title IX also institutes a process through which schools, colleges, and universities deal with allegations of sexual harassment and assault on campus.
In the article below, we will explain exactly what Title IX is, how it differs from criminal proceedings, and what you can generally expect from a Title IX investigation. We will also explain the role of an advisor, and why is it very important to hire an advisor who is an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a Federal law in the United States that was signed by President Richard Nixon in 1972. This law provides legal opportunities for women and aims to end discrimination against them on college campuses, as well as providing protections against sexual harassment and sexual assault. It requires universities to take immediate action upon receiving notice of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or discrimination.
Title IX States:
“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.” 20 U.S.C. Ch. 38 Section 1681