Title IX: Families and Individuals

successful graduatesWhether you are being accused of violating Title IX or are the victim of sexual misconduct It can be very difficult and disheartening to go through the complicated Title IX process alone. We can help. Our experienced attorneys and staff have dealt with countless Title IX issues and can provide the necessary counsel and guidance to successfully navigate through the process. It is important to know your rights. For instance:

The Accused

School Based Title IX Procedures
The penalties for violating a College, University or School District’s Title IX policy can have a devastating effect on the future of an accused student. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are at risk in tuition payments alone. Penalties include expulsion, suspension and a permanent scar or blemish on the student’s academic transcript. The Pattison Firm can help protect your rights and guide you through the process.
Schools must provide a fair and impartial process that provides a meaningful opportunity to be heard;

They are required to adopt and publish a grievance procedure outlining the complaint, investigation, and disciplinary process for addressing sexual violence, sex discrimination and sexual harassment.

  • The process must be “prompt and equitable.” There must be a reasonably timely response to the allegations and both parties must be given equal rights during the disciplinary process.
  • Schools may not retaliate against someone for having a complaint filed against them and the accused must be treated with dignity;
  • Schools cannot discourage the continuation of studies;
  • Schools are required to have procedures and processes to address complaints of sexual violence, harassment and discrimination;
  • The accused has the right to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice throughout the Title IX process;
  • Every school receiving federal funding is required to have a Title IX Coordinator;
    • The Title IX Coordinator must ensure compliance with Title IX, and coordinate investigations and disciplinary processes.
  • Notice to the parties of the outcome of the complaint;
  • Freedom of Speech – Title IX is intended to protect students from sex discrimination, not to regulate the content of speech. The offensiveness of a particular expression as perceived by some students, standing alone, is not a legally sufficient basis to establish a sexually hostile environment under Title IX.

The evidentiary standard is by a “preponderance of the evidence”, which means more likely than not.

Lawsuits
Where a school has failed to comply with the requirements of Title IX, failed to follow its own policies and procedures or reached an unsupported conclusion the accused may contest the same through use of the State and Federal Courts.

Courts generally review Title IX matters to see if school policies were followed, if legal standards were complied with and whether the school made an arbitrary decision based on the evidence.

The Victim

Navigating through the difficult and confusing Title IX process can be frightening and overwhelming. The Pattison Firm can help protect your rights and guide you through the process.

  • Schools may not retaliate against someone for filing a complaint;
  • Schools must keep complainants safe from other retaliation;
  • Schools must ensure that no student has to share campus space with the accused (dorm, class, workspace, etc.) ;
  • Schools should issue no contact orders prohibiting the accused from interacting or coming in contact with the victim;
  • Schools cannot discourage the continuation of studies;
  • Schools are required to have procedures and processes to address complaints of sexual violence, harassment and discrimination;
  • Schools must provide a fair and impartial process that provides a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
  • Schools must comply with their own policies and procedures;
  • The victim must be treated with dignity and their complaints treated seriously;
  • The victim has the right to be accompanied by an adviser of their choice throughout the Title IX process;
  • Every school receiving federal funding is required to have a Title IX Coordinator;
  • The Title IX Coordinator must ensure compliance with Title IX, and coordinate investigations and disciplinary processes.
  • Notice to the parties of the outcome of the complaint;
  • Schools must provide for a confidentiality procedure;
  • When someone reports sexual misconduct Schools must grant immunity for certain campus policy violations, such as drug and alcohol use.
  • The victim has the right to make a complaint to law enforcement.

The evidentiary standard is by a “preponderance of the evidence”, which means more likely than not.

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