July 19, 2018By Brian Manchester
Title IX: A Major Issue For Universities
One of the biggest issues affecting universities lately are accusations of sexual assault under Title IX (Nine). Title Nine is a federal civil rights law, and universities will lose their federal funding unless they follow certain Title Nine procedures that seek to prevent sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct on college campuses. Given university funding is on the line, universities are quick to conduct a full investigation even when there is little to no evidence that Title Nine sexual misconduct actually occurred.
Low Burden Of Proof
In addition, the burden of proof for a Title Nine violation is far lower than the “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” standard seen in criminal trials. Rather, if the disciplinary board determines that it is more probable than not that the Title Nine sexual misconduct took place, the board will bring down a harsh punishment. Given the current always “believe the victim” mantra, an accused may find themselves expelled or suspended from school even if the evidence was nothing more than “she said/he said.”
First 3 Phases Of Disciplinary Process
If you are accused of a Title Nine Sexual Assault Violation, it is important to contact a Title Nine defense attorney as soon as possible.
There are five phases of the Title Nine disciplinary process, and you will want an experienced defense attorney by your side for all of them.
First, staff at the university will file a report and inform the accused student of the allegations, and an investigation will occur whereby students are interviewed as witnesses.
Second, if the university employees determine there is a reasonable chance the Title Nine Sexual Assault violation did occur, the accused will be formally charged and a hearing date will be set.
Third, a hearing will be conducted. This is where the accused student is asked to admit, deny, or remain silent as to the alleged sexual violation. The hearing is not similar to a regular criminal trial and the rules of evidence do not apply.
Certain evidence can be used against you that would otherwise not be admissible in a regular trial. After hearing the evidence, the disciplinary board will then decide whether the accused student is guilty or innocent.
Last 2 Phases Of Disciplinary Process
If the disciplinary board determines that the accused student is guilty of the Title Nine Sexual Assault violation, phase four is for the disciplinary board to render a punishment.
Even if you are found to be guilty, your defense attorney can argue for a more lenient punishment by presenting evidence that raises doubts about the likelihood of your guilt.
The punishment can be anything from expulsion or suspension, to requiring the student to obtain counseling or substance abuse treatment. The university will also commonly hold the accused student’s degree until the student complies with the terms of the punishment.
The final stage is the appeals process. If found guilty, you can appeal to another panel which will be set forth in the university’s code of conduct handbook.
As you can see, Title Nine Sexual Assault violations carry severe punishments, and the process can be arduous. Brian Manchester will fight for you every step of the way and ensure you receive aggressive representation. For a free consultation we can be contacted at 1-800-243-4878.