Title IX has brought a new revolution in the approach of women against sexual discrimination and assault. It has empowered women to the extent that they feel a lot more assured about getting justice these days than in the past. From approaching a Title IX attorney to filing a case against an offender, Title IX has transformed the perception of sexual harassment and assault on the campuses of educational institutions.
Title IX is all about equal opportunities for women on college campuses. It allows them to walk hand in hand with their male counterparts in education institutions.
The implementation of Title IX is mandatory for State universities. A failure to do so puts them at the risk of losing funding from both state and federal agencies.
Upon receiving a notice of sexual harassment or assault, Title IX makes it mandatory for universities to carry out an investigation under the supervision of a Title IX compliance officer. Regardless of the involvement of a law enforcement agency, it is mandatory for an educational institution to carry out a Title IX investigation independently when one brings such incidents to the notice of its authorities.
Read on to find out more about Title IX investigation, including how it works.
Challenges concerning Title IX investigations
Title IX has mixed reviews; some people believe it secures women from sexual crimes on college campuses, whereas others think it aggravates matters rather than providing a solution.
Though the idea of Title IX seems to be fair on the surface, it lacks a systematic arrangement. The hearing for a Title IX investigation only involves investigators and not defense lawyers. Unlike a usual court hearing, a defense attorney is not allowed to speak in the hearing of Title IX investigation. Also, the investigators, who have the final say on the matter, hardly take the evidence into consideration.
As a result, a student who is at the center of allegation finds himself in a state of quandary. The fact that a Title Ix investigation takes a lesser burden of proof puts a student further adds to their difficulty. Not only students but their parents also find it tricky to deal with such a situation.
If at the time of hearing it is established that the sexual harassment or assault incident likely happened, it is enough to arrest an accused. Even their admission of a physical relationship with an accused victim at the latter’s consent leads to the arrest of the former. This is one of the most problematic and complicated parts of the Title IX investigation.
More often than not, it puts an innocent student in the dock. Apart from the high risk of legal punishment, it also poses another risk factor. The law enforcement may request access to the records of the investigation by Title IX compliance officer if an alleged victim approaches it.
What happens in a Title IX investigation?
When a complainant files a complaint of sexual assault or harassment to a Title IX investigator, the latter sends a no contact letter to the accused. It asks the latter to refrain from contacting the complainant through phone calls, text messages, email or social media accounts. Following it, the Title IX investigator sends another letter requesting the accused individual to meet them in person and give a statement on the matter.
The Title IX compliance officer may or may not show the statement of the complainant in the meeting. While they permit the complainant to have a support person at the time of the meeting, the latter does not get to speak on the matter on behalf of the accused individual in the course of the interview.
This is where the actual challenge begins. Any statement that they give can be accessed by law enforcement at the subsequent stages should the complainant choose to file a complaint to the law enforcement. Due to this reason, a Title IX defense lawyer recommends their client to not agree to submit to a Title IX investigation.
Though a Title IX investigation happens prior to the hearing in the courtroom, both may also happen at the same time.
How a criminal defense attorney can help you
One of the risks linked to a Title IX investigation is the placement of the name of an accused in the registry of sex offenders. In the worst-case scenario, it may also lead to a felony conviction. Both these outcomes can ruin the future of a student.
Lawyers from the leading Title IX law firms try to help their clients in two ways. Apart from trying to prevent their arrest, they also try their best to make sure a student stays in the school.
A Title IX officer asks a student to prove that they had prior consent from a complainant for physical contact or penetration. It is next to impossible to prove it as the
Qualified attorneys with prior experience of dealing with cases involving Title IX investigations understand the awkward situation their client faces during the interview. In order to reduce the chances of a conviction, followed by an arrest, they ask their clients to skip the questions asked by a Title IX compliance officer.
While the rationale behind the increased emphasis on Title IX investigation is to offer protection and justice to victims of sexual harassment and assault on campuses, it is far from being perfect for the cause. It favors the victim and is extremely biased against the accused. Also, it limits the possibilities of a defense attorney from a Title IX law firm to defend their client. Due to mounting federal and state lawsuits, more due process is expected in Title IX investigations in the future to also give the accused a fair chance of defending their case.