Title IX hearings are conducted on campus, almost always virtual via Zoom. The proceedings may be initiated anytime the administrative officers of the school receive a sexual discrimination report between two students or between a student and faculty member.
Often times, these complaints consist of sexual assault or misconduct allegations. They can range from sexual harassment to making sexually inappropriate comments, stalking, rape, and more.
Generally, Title IX hearings involve a panel of investigators reviewing the various allegations and evidence that are brought against the accused student or faculty member. The investigators will ask you extremely personal and detailed questions about your relationship with your accuser, as well as any sexual acts that may have taken place between the two of you. Their goal is to get the full story so that they can determine whether you are responsible for what allegedly happened. It is critical to have a Title IX defense lawyer / advisor by your side to represent you!
Schools divvy up the decision-making power in various different ways by creating a tribunal, a panel of representatives, or even selecting a single member of the staff, sometimes known as a Title IX “coordinator” or “specialist”. The Title IX specialist often serves as an investigator as well as the ultimate decision-maker with respect to whether the accused is guilty and what penalties to which they will be subjected.
Parties in a Title IX investigation are typically under the impression that an adjacent criminal investigation will stall or otherwise prevent the Title IX proceedings from being resolved, but any criminal investigations are handled separately and do not suspend Title IX proceedings.
From the information obtained during the investigation and available evidence, the panel then decides whether the accused student or staff member has disobeyed the school’s code of conduct.
If found guilty, an accused student may face expulsion from the school, while an accused faculty member could face dismissal and other severe consequences.