College students who have been accused of violating Title IX may face emotional distress, a distraction from their studies, tarnished reputations, lengthy inquiry periods, and ultimately suspension or expulsion from the school. Even more severe, Title IX allegations on campus may lead to criminal charges against the student. As a result of Title IX allegations, students may be labeled sex offenders, have trouble getting into graduate school, and have difficulties obtaining jobs. Parents of students facing Title IX allegations may find themselves struggling to protect the rights of their children and wondering what steps to take next. If your child is facing Title IX charges, consider contacting the knowledgeable Title IX attorney at Jason English Law by calling (512) 454-7548 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is Title IX?
According to the United States Department of Education, Title IX is a federal law that the legislature enacted in 1972, which amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title IX covers all educational institutions that receive federal funding. Thus, it applies to most schools, as it extends to schools that participate in federal financial aid programs. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination and provides equal access to educational programs and activities for both male and female students. The United States Department of Education also applies Title IX to discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation, such as transgender and gay students. Colleges and universities have the power and responsibility to discipline Title IX violations. For this reason, many schools have dedicated Title IX offices to which students may report allegations.
What Are Title IX Allegations?
Title IX allegations include allegations of discriminating against a student on the basis of sex and preventing that student from experiencing the full benefits of the university due to that student's sex. Thus, sexual misconduct is a Title IX allegation because sexual violence prevents students from enjoying all the benefits of an educational institution. If the college student in your family is facing Title IX allegations, a skilled criminal defense attorney at Jason English Law may be able to help. Title IX allegations also include:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
- Date rape
- Domestic violence
How Schools Might Violate Students' Rights
One of the jobs of a Title IX attorney is to help ensure that the accused student's rights are protected throughout the process. When a Title IX allegation has been made against a student, the most common ways a school can violate the student's rights include:
- Incomplete or absent written procedures
- Insufficient due process or procedural fairness
An educational institution might neglect to have written procedures in place that uphold basic rights. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), 71.7 percent of the top 53 universities in America failed to guarantee that a student is innocent until proven guilty, and 41.5 percent of educational institutions neglected to ensure impartial judgment in their procedures.
Due Process or Procedural Fairness
Due process is fairness throughout the process to establish a just outcome. Students at public colleges have the right to due process in college disciplinary actions. As state universities are an extension of the government, students attending these schools have this right to due process because of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, which requires no person to be deprived of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
Students who are attending private universities do not have the same due process within the school. However, rights to procedural fairness, which are like due process rights, often stem from the contractual relationship between a student and the private institution. Procedural fairness rights may even be found in the student handbook. Title IX attorneys review the student handbook to find the procedures that the private college must follow.
Examples of Due Process Rights
The United States Supreme Court case Goss v. Lopez established two crucial due process rights in 1975:
- The right to notice
- The right to be heard
To be heard means to provide one's own version of events. If a school expels a student for a Title IX sexual misconduct violation without notice and/or without hearing the student's testimony, the school likely violated due process. Due process may also include:
- The right to cross-examine witnesses and accusers
- The right to view evidence
- The right to an unbiased disciplinary panel
Steps To Take if Your Child Is Arrested
When an allegation is made with a school's Title IX office, leading to a student's arrest, certain steps must be taken to protect the rights of the accused student. The first step is usually to learn more about the allegations and what they might mean for your child. Often, the next step is to find an experienced Title IX attorney who can answer your questions and walk you and your child through the process. Generally, educational institutions do not provide attorneys to students who are facing Title IX accusations, so you may want to retain a lawyer who is well-versed in Title IX cases.
Additional steps that you and your child can take include the following:
- Documenting the incident as well as the student can recall
- Documenting the disciplinary process
- Noting when and where the school violated due process or its own rules, if applicable
- Making sure the school keeps the proceedings confidential
- Filing a complaint, if necessary, with the United States Department of Education
Contact a Title IX Attorney Today
Title IX allegations and subsequent arrests can lead to grave consequences for accused students. Educational institutions may investigate and discipline Title IX allegations. In doing so, public educational institutions must uphold due process, and private educational institutions must uphold the school's own rules. Importantly, on-campus allegations may lead to criminal charges against a student. If your child has been arrested for a Title IX violation, consider contacting the knowledgeable Title IX attorney at Jason English Law by calling (512) 454-7548 to schedule a free consultation.