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Title IX FAQ

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity (Source: U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Civil Rights (2015) Title IX and Sex Discrimination).

Why Do Colleges and Universities Investigate Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault?

Under Title IX schools (if they wish to retain federal funding) are required to conduct an investigation into any allegation of sexual harassment, including sexual assault, that occur in their programs and activities wherever they occur (in some cases this involves off campus locations).

What Due Process Protections Am I Afforded If I Am Charged with Campus Misconduct Involving Sexual Assault?

Not a lot or none at all.  Whatever “due process” that is afforded does not remotely compare to the due process protections provided to persons accused of the same conduct in criminal courts.  Public universities must provide some due process protections.  Private colleges and universities are only obligated to provide the “process” promised in their student disciplinary guidelines.

What Is the Standard of Proof that Colleges and Universities Apply to Their Investigations and Determinations of Sexual Assault Claims? How Does that Compare to the Standard of Proof in Criminal Cases?

The standard of proof applied by colleges and universities in Title IX investigations is “Preponderance of the Evidence”.  This is one of the lowest standards of proof (i.e. the greater weight of the evidence).  The standard of proof applied in criminal cases is proof “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt”.  This is the highest burden of proof (i.e. no other logical explanation can be derived from the evidence except the defendant’s guilt).

What is the Violence Against Women Act?

The Violence Against Women Act, also known as VAWA, is an amendment to the Clery Act (which, among other things requires the disclosure of campus security policies and campus crime statistics).  VAWA prescribes standards for the investigation and conduct of student discipline proceedings in domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking cases.

What are the Differences Between Title IX and VAWA?

There are substantial differences between the two Acts.  Title IX is geared towards the elimination of gender inequality in educational settings while Clery/VAWA is primarily an Act focused upon crime statistic reporting.  There is significant overlap however.  One critical distinction in the areas of overlap is that VAWA moves beyond Title IX (at least as interpreted by Office of Civil Rights guidance documents) and expands a college or university’s obligation to investigate beyond sexual harassment/assault and into allegations of domestic violence and dating violence.  It is easy to suppose that Title IX rules apply to investigations brought under the auspices of VAWA.  They do not.  For example, while Title IX, as interpreted by current OCR guidance letters requires the use of a “Preponderance of the Evidence” standard, VAWA does not prescribe an evidentiary standard.  This could prove to be a critical difference if a school chooses to elevate their standard of proof in domestic/dating violence cases.

Should I Contact A Lawyer If I Am Accused of Campus Misconduct Involving Sexual Assault or Domestic Violence?

Yes.  If you are accused of this conduct, both to protect your educational status and to protect yourself in any parallel criminal investigation or prosecution you should contact a lawyer immediately.

What Kind of Lawyer Should I Contact?

Contact a lawyer admitted to practice law in the state or jurisdiction where your school is located.  Contact a lawyer who understands Title IX and VAWA and the rules and procedures of your school.  It would also be helpful if that attorney is experienced in the criminal representation of persons charged with assaultive offense.

What Fees Do You Charge?

For most cases we charge a base flat fee.  The base fee depends upon the seriousness of the offense charged and the procedures afforded by your school (e.g.  some schools afford hearings, some do not). To obtain a quote, contact our office.

For More Information About Our Title IX Legal Services Visit Our Title IX Law Page.

To Learn More About Title IX and Student Misconduct, Visit Our Blog "Title IX Today"

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