Frequently Asked Questions
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. It covers various areas, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, gender-based discrimination, and more.
The Title IX investigator will want to speak with you and the accuser, as well as anyone that might be a potential witness. They may obtain and study police records, social media posts, text messages, e-mails, campus security reports and videos. It is important to note that just because you or the accuser suggest a witness to be interviewed, that investigator does not have to speak with that person. The investigator is given wide discretion on how the investigation is conducted. Some investigators will record interviews, while others choose not to record anything. It’s critical to get a Title IX defense advisor on your side during the investigation so you don’t make things worse and possibly incriminate yourself.
We’ve had cases where we’ve gotten the charges dismissed within the first few days, and we’ve had some cases drag on for several months; it depends on your school and circumstances around your case. A Title IX investigation should be completed within 2 months (60 calendar days). If not, you may be able to challenge the university’s handling of the Title IX investigation as untimely. Your college or university should provide an estimated timeline in its Title IX policy or grievance procedures, which should be publicly available online.
- The right to be notified promptly of any accusations of an alleged Title IX violation.
- The right to receive written notice of the allegations with sufficient detail of the conduct constituting a Title IX violation and allow the accused sufficient time before being required to provide any response.
- The right to a prompt, equitable and impartial investigation.
- The right to privacy and confidentiality as allowed by law. Including any advance notice of the release of information to the public.
- The right to present witnesses and evidence in your defense. Evidence may include any relevant evidence, including photos, video, text messages, social media posts and other electronic evidence.
- The right to equal access to all information / evidence obtained by the investigator, including copies of the complaint documents; statement of all parties and witnesses; and copies of all documents reviewed by the investigator, with at least 10 days to review and respond.
- Copies of all investigative reports which fairly summarize the evidence and allow at least 10 days to provide a written response.
- The right to a live hearing before a neutral panel, which includes cross-examination of any and all parties and witnesses by your advisor.
- The right to appeal any findings or sanctions issued against you.
Yes, the Title IX process works independently of the criminal justice system. Sometimes your university’s Title IX office may cooperate with local law enforcement authorities and vice versa. Either case may go forward even if the other one does not. Your school’s Title IX investigation and/or Title IX hearing will determine whether or not you violated your school’s code of conduct. That’s why it makes so much sense to hire a Title IX defense advisor who can put together a unified defense strategy to protect your degree and your future.
Absolutely not. College and University representatives, coordinators and members of the administration have the school’s interest in mind, not yours. Do not say anything to anyone without legal representation, as one wrong slip of the tongue can incriminate yourself and subject yourself to even greater liability, before you even have a chance to a proper defense at the disciplinary hearing.
Title IX covers a wide range of misconduct allegations, including but not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, and gender-based discrimination.
So the definition of consent depends on the specific college or university, but likely it will involve “affirmative consent” . This sounds redundant but is used to underscore the necessity of both parties affirming their consent to mutually agreed upon sexual activity.
This may mean such consent must be mutually understandable to both parties, must be actively and freely given, and cannot be unlimited. In other words, consent to engage in one form of sexual activity doesn’t constitute consent to engage in other forms of sexual activity. Keep in mind that, even without a refusal, a person who is drunk or unconscious cannot give consent to sexual activity.
Under Title IX, sexual harassment encompasses:
- Unwanted verbal, visual, or physical sexual conduct
- Unwelcome sexual advances, favors or requests
- Offensive, derogatory, or repeated remarks related to someone’s sex
- Sexual exploitation, recording, or exposure (including “revenge porn”)
Any type of harassment that’s sexual in nature and impedes a student’s right to an education or their ability to participate in the program or activity.
It is highly recommended to seek legal representation if you are accused of a Title IX violation. A skilled attorney experienced in Title IX defense can provide guidance, protect your rights, navigate the complex process, and help you build a strong defense strategy. You do not want to face your school’s investigator(s) and disciplinary board on your own.
Title IX requires colleges and universities to apply the “preponderance of the evidence” standard – was it more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred? The preponderance of the evidence standard is a low standard of proof, so compared to the criminal justice system, it’s technically easier for you to be found responsible. In contrast, criminal cases require that the defendant is found guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt. But a skilled Title IX defense lawyer / advisor can help you build a case to overcome this standard of proof.
Unfortunately, yes, but you do have legal recourse and the right to appeal. Most schools know that students are allowed due process and a right to an investigation and disciplinary hearing under the law, but it’s critical to get a Title IX defense lawyer involved before the investigation or disciplinary hearing occurs. If you’ve already been expelled or suspended, we can appeal the decision on your behalf.
As for possible Title IX defense strategies that your student misconduct lawyer can provide, they will depend, in part, on the details of each individual case. In any case, a Title IX defense attorney can:
- Provide guidance to the respondent for every single step in the process.
- Tell you exactly what to say, what not to say, what to do and what not to do.
- Prepare you for any hearings and interviews that the university conducts.
- Make certain that the school adheres to its own Title IX procedures and policies.
- Advocate and negotiate with the school’s own attorneys behind the scenes to seek an agreeable resolution without need for a hearing.
- Make strategic decisions to secure the best defense against campus misconduct charges.
The worst that can happen is to be expelled from school, have your scholarship taken away, to face criminal charges, and have to deal with a tarnished reputation for the rest of your life by having a sexual misconduct charge on your record. Do not risk facing your university’s investigators or disciplinary hearings alone.
Absolutely. 99% of Title IX hearings are handled remotely via Zoom / video conference, and communication between all parties involved is typically handled via email and on the phone. Any negotiation with the school’s attorneys or officers are handled over the phomne and via email. Title IX is a federal law, and we represent students accused of Title IX violations at thousands of colleges and universities nationwide.
No. While Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law, a violation of the law cannot result in criminal charges. While criminal charges are of course possible depending on the situation and the accuser, by law, the results of a Title IX formal complaint are an investigation by the school, and unless the accusations are dropped, a disciplinary board hearing will be held via Zoom.
Affirmative consent policies on campus can pose problems for students who engage in consensual sex but cannot prove it. During your Title IX interviews, you can testify that you received verbal consent, either by refuting your accuser’s claims through a forensic or psychological evaluation, finding witnesses, and/or by presenting prior and post-incident text messages or social media posts showing a positive relationship between you and the accuser.
Generally speaking, federal sex crimes do not include sexual assault or sexual battery related to university Title IX investigations or sexual misconduct allegations. However, just because you are not facing federal charges, does not mean that you can handle your defense on your own. Being found guilty of a Title IX sexual misconduct violation on campus can end up ruining your life.
No. Since Title IX investigations are not criminal matters, any “responsible” finding will not result in criminal penalties. As such, you cannot be required to register on a sex offender registry if you are found “responsible” after a Title IX hearing.
Since a Title IX investigation is not a criminal investigation but is an internal matter at your college or university, you do not have the same protections against double jeopardy under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that you would have if you were found “not guilty” after a criminal trial. As such, if you are found innocent or “not responsible” after a Title IX investigation and hearing, the complainant at your school (the person who made the allegation) may be able to appeal the finding and you could still face disciplinary consequences at your school upon appeal.
Title IX investigations at colleges and universities can differ greatly from one campus to another, but you still have due process at ANY federally funded college or university. Consequently, the application of due process varies from case to case, but we understand the nuances and complexities of these cases and we have experience winning them, so contact our award-winning Title IX defense attorney today. Without a skilled Title IX defense attorney at your side during the investigation and/or the hearing, you are putting yourself and your future at great risk.
The consequences of a Title IX finding can vary depending on the circumstances and the policies of the institution. They may include disciplinary actions such as suspension, expulsion, mandatory counseling, or training programs. Additionally, it can have long-term effects on academic standing, future educational opportunities, and employment prospects.
An attorney in a Title IX case plays a crucial role in protecting the rights of the accused. They can guide you through the investigative and disciplinary processes, help you understand the charges against you, gather evidence, cross-examine witnesses, advocate for your interests, and ensure due process is followed.
The duration of a Title IX investigation can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the number of witnesses involved, and the policies and procedures of the institution. Investigations can range from a few weeks to several months.
Yes, in most cases, you have the right to appeal a Title IX decision. It is crucial to carefully review the institution’s policies and procedures regarding the appeals process and to consult with an attorney who can help you navigate the specific requirements and deadlines.
Yes, communication between you and your attorney is generally protected by attorney-client privilege, which means it is confidential. However, it’s important to discuss the specific details of attorney-client privilege with your lawyer to ensure a clear understanding of its limits.
The cost of hiring a Title IX defense attorney can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the case, the attorney’s experience, and the specific services provided. It is advisable to discuss fees and payment arrangements with potential attorneys during initial consultations.
If you receive a Title IX complaint or notice, it is essential to take it seriously and seek legal advice promptly. Contacting a Title IX defense attorney will help you understand your rights, navigate the process, and develop an effective defense strategy.
While you have the right to represent yourself, it is generally not advisable to do so in a Title IX case. Title IX cases are complex, and having a skilled attorney who understands the intricacies of the law and the process can significantly improve your chances of a favorable outcome.
Your attorney can guide you in gathering evidence to support your defense. This may include witness statements, text messages, emails, social media posts, surveillance footage, or any other relevant documentation. Your attorney can also help you understand what evidence is admissible and how to obtain it.
During a Title IX hearing, both parties present their evidence, witness testimony, and arguments. The hearing panel or decision-maker evaluates the information presented and makes a determination of responsibility or non-responsibility based on the preponderance of the evidence standard.
In certain circumstances, you may be able to request a different hearing panel or decision-maker. It is crucial to review the specific policies and procedures of your institution and consult with your attorney to understand the grounds and process for such requests.
Yes, you have the right to be represented by an attorney during a Title IX hearing. Having legal representation can help protect your rights, ensure fair proceedings, and present a strong defense on your behalf.
If you believe the Title IX process is biased or unfair, consult with your attorney to evaluate the situation and determine the best course of action. They can advise you on potential remedies or legal actions that can be taken to address any procedural or due process concerns.
A Title IX coordinator is a designated official responsible for overseeing Title IX compliance and handling reports of alleged misconduct. A Title IX defense attorney, on the other hand, is a legal professional who represents individuals accused of Title IX violations and provides legal guidance and defense throughout the process.
No, an accusation alone should not result in immediate expulsion or termination. Institutions must conduct a thorough investigation, provide due process, and make determinations based on the evidence presented. It is crucial to have legal representation to ensure your rights are protected during this process.
Yes, a Title IX case can have long-term implications on your education or employment opportunities. A finding of responsibility or disciplinary action may appear on your academic record or background checks, potentially affecting your future prospects. Having an attorney can help mitigate the potential impact and explore options for appeal or expungement.
In some cases, it may be possible to reach a settlement or resolution without a formal hearing. Your attorney can help negotiate and advocate for alternative resolutions, such as mediation, that may be appropriate based on the circumstances of your case.
If you are found responsible in a Title IX case, the consequences can vary depending on the policies of the institution. They may include disciplinary actions, mandatory counseling or training, probation, or other measures. It is essential to consult with your attorney to understand the specific ramifications and explore potential avenues for appeal.
In certain situations, you may have grounds to pursue legal action against your institution if you believe your rights were violated during the Title IX process. Consult with your attorney to evaluate the circumstances, assess potential claims, and determine the best course of action.
The time frame for filing an appeal in a Title IX case can vary depending on the institution’s policies and procedures. It is crucial to review the specific guidelines and consult with your attorney to ensure you meet any applicable deadlines.