How Bad is Title IX Student Discipline?

What to expect from a Title IX disciplinary hearing and procedures

If your son or daughter face a Title IX sexual assault complaint, even if it's unfounded, you must be wondering how bad is Title IX discipline. In short, you need to know where your child stands in a Title IX process and how it can affect his or her future.

What are the penalties for a Title IX complaint?

First, you should know that Title IX discipline can vary from one college or university to another. Each institution is simply trying to abide by the 1972 law that has come to be known as Title IX which prohibits sexual discrimination of any kind at institutions that receive federal funding (which is true of most schools — even private ones).

Since Title IX investigations and proceedings are administrative and don't occur in a courtroom (more likely, they're held in an office), colleges and universities may leverage certain advantages they have over accused students in ways that would not be allowed in a court of law.

For instance, Title IX discipline and punishment may begin even before an investigation and hearing are held. An accused student may find himself or herself on probation, suspended or even expelled before they are fully aware of what's going on.

These actions can be life-changing — if not life-shattering — penalties. And the stigma of a Title IX university sanction will remain on their academic record. Even when formal hearings are held, these may be scheduled mere days after an alleged campus sexual assault has taken place.

By law, schools have just 60 days to resolve the issue, and many try to move much faster.

As a result, accused students have little time to prepare themselves for the hearing to follow, at which they probably will be woefully unfamiliar with Title IX discipline procedures.

Also, despite the fact that a Title IX hearing is not in a criminal courtroom, your son or daughter may face frightening language from the Texas criminal code, including such terms as "rape" and "sexual assault". You'll find that schools are under great pressure to aggressively pursue Title IX complaints, since their federal funding could be at stake.

All of these reasons are why it's vital that accussed students engage an experienced Title IX defense lawyer or sex assault defense attorney to handle their case. That can mean the difference between clearing his or her name and a surprisingly fast and harsh punishment such as being expelled while branded as a rapist.

It's your choice. Now you know how important it is to get legal representation in a Title IX complaint.

What Is a Title IX discipline hearing?

As for what to expect during a Title IX discipline hearing, again the details depend on the individual educational institution.

In Texas, for instance, there are complicated and different Title IX discipline hearing procedures at different institutions, from Baylor University, TCU, SMU and the University of Texas, to Texas A&M, Rice, Sam Houston State and the University of Houston.

Your Title IX complaint defense lawyer can uncover and understand the disciplinary policies involved at the particular college or university in question — or perhaps at a high school, where Title IX complaints can also arise.

Likely, the hearing will be scheduled soon after the alleged event and set in an office on the school campus.

title ix disciplinary hearing

That hearing may involve introduction of evidence, witnesses and testimony, but make no mistake — it's NOT the same as a trial.

For one thing, college administrators often disregard the rights of an accused student in a Title IX complaint (known as the "respondent") to a presumption of innocence. Rather, a school may treat an accused student as being guilty before the claim has even been investigated.

It's also likely that your son or daughter will have far fewer rights granted in a Title IX hearing than a person would have in a criminal or civil court.

Can I have a Title IX defense lawyer?

Even though some schools discourage students from engaging legal counsel (most do not), you can have a Title IX defense lawyer to help your family through the process.

Most schools allow a respondent, as with the accuser, to have an adviser for the hearing. That adviser can be anyone — including an attorney. This is thanks to the Campus SaVE Act designed to protect women against violence.

Campus SaVE Act Provisions

More formally known as the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, Campus SaVE also enables alleged victims of campus sexual violence to:

  • Be assisted by campus authorities if reporting a crime to law enforcement.

  • Change academic, living, transportation or working situations to avoid a hostile environment.

  • Obtain or enforce a no-contact directive or restraining order.

  • Have a clear written description of their institution's disciplinary process and know the range of possible sanctions.

  • Receive contact information about counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance and other services available both on-campus and in the community.

That's a lot of rights for the accuser, ultimately to be enforced by the federal Department of Education.

But what about the rights for the accused student?

For that, we turn to Campus SaVE's provisions for Title IX discipline proceedings after an accusation of sexual assault, rape, stalking, dating violence and sexual harassment. Those provisions set these minimum standards:

  • A prompt, fair and impartial investigation and resolution should be conducted by officials receiving annual training on domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

  • Both parties may have others present during an institutional disciplinary proceeding and any related meetings, including an adviser of their choice.

  • Both parties will receive written outcomes of all disciplinary proceedings at the same time.

These provisions for Title IX discipline at least assure that you son or daughter has a right to have an adviser — and that adviser can be a Title IX discrimination lawyer.

The bottom line: Accused students have a much better chance of standing up to a questionable system and gaining justice if they have a skilled Title IX defense attorney at their side at the Title IX discipline hearing.

Don't wait for an appeal

Even if you believe your child's case is so strong that he or she will never be disciplined after the truth is presented, you shouldn't wait to engage a Title IX lawyer. If you do, and your child is found guilty and faces punishment, you often have a very short time period in which to prepare an appeal.

It's best to consult a knowledgeable Title IX lawyer as soon as possible after such a complaint, even it's a false sexual assault accusation. Your child's future is too important to fail to secure the staunch legal defense he or she needs in hopes that things work out.

Get a Title IX defense lawyer immediately

After the horror of a campus sexual assault claim has been made, it's time for you to take charge and fight back. To do so, hire the best Title IX defense lawyer you can find. Get a knowledgeable, experienced and skilled sexual assault defense attorney to represent your son or daughter.

If you're from Houston, Harris County, Montgomery Bend County and Fort Bend County, contact the Neal Davis Law Firm today. We'll quickly provide a confidential legal review of the Title IX case at no charge to you, and we'll advise you on how to proceed. The next step is up to you.

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