Thanks to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, marginalized groups enjoy certain protections under federal law. Title IX was eventually added to the Civil Rights Act to extend these protections to women on college campuses and required college campuses to develop a system of investigating and disciplining acts of gender discrimination and sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, the aggressive pursuit of Title IX violations by campus authorities often violates more rights than it protects. Students are not guaranteed the same protections they would enjoy during a criminal trial, increasing the chances that they suffer a miscarriage of justice. Given these proceedings could result in expulsion from school, there is a lot at stake for most students.
If you or a loved one faces discipline through a Title IX proceeding, it is crucial to speak with a seasoned defense lawyer. Every student is entitled to representation by an Alexandria Title IX lawyer and waiving this right could be a mistake.
While Title IX outlines a basic framework for how complaints and investigations should proceed, each school is required to set up their own process. Due to that, the process for a Title IX complaint can vary drastically from one campus to another.
The process always begins with a complaint. These complaints could come from the alleged victim, an administrator, or an anonymous third party. Each school must investigate these claims to determine if they have merit. Often, the school will notify the accused student that an investigation is underway and seek their cooperation.
If the initial investigation suggests the accusations could be true, a formal inquiry could begin. In these cases, the school could require the student to participate in a hearing. At these hearings, the school can compel a student to testify and punish them if they refuse to do so. If the disciplinary board is convinced that a violation of Title IX occurred, the student could face significant consequences.
Title IX investigations are not formal criminal inquiries, and they do not involve law enforcement. However, it is possible for these investigations to run simultaneously with a criminal investigation.
These two proceedings are very different, both in potential outcomes and the rights enjoyed by the accused. A criminal complaint for sexual harassment could lead to jail time and fines, while a Title IX complaint is limited to penalties handed down by the school. That does not mean the penalties handed down by a school disciplinary board are minor. A suspension or expulsion based on a Title IX violation could cost a person their education. Even a written warning could impact a student as they attempt to pursue their education at a higher level or enter the job market after college. A dedicated Title IX attorney could help an Alexandria student fight back against these steep consequences.
Any allegation that results in a Title IX investigation could be serious. If the school takes action against you, it could result in the end of your time there. In some cases, your future could be altered dramatically by a Title IX case.
Thankfully, you do not have to take on these challenges alone. Contact an Alexandria Title IX lawyer right away for more information.