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Are You Covered by Due Process Protections if You’re Accused of a Title IX Violation?

Title IX By Binnall Law Group - 2021/08/27 at 10:43pm

Students, faculty, and staff accused of Title IX violations often do not understand how the investigations and disciplinary proceedings they will face differ from standard legal proceedings. The process is guided by the school’s individual policies as well as frequently changing mandates from the federal government.

So, are you covered by due process protections if you’re accused of a Title IX violation? The answer is “it depends.” Anyone potentially facing Title IX allegations would be wise to consult a Title IX defense lawyer who could analyze and help them take advantage of all protections available under the circumstances. 

Examine School Policies and Procedures

While the rules for admissibility of evidence, cross-examination, and other facets of the justice system are fairly standard among courts trying someone accused of a criminal offense, the rules governing investigations and disciplinary proceedings on campus may be different at every single school. One critical step in the process of defending against Title IX charges is to locate and review all policy manuals, codes of conduct, and other school documents that either establish standards for behavior or specify procedures for handling complaints. 

A Title IX defense lawyer could compare the terms to find out precisely what due process protections the procedures provide and advise a student how to ensure they do not unintentionally forfeit any of their rights. 

Do the School Policies Comply with Current Laws?

Title IX itself is a simple broad prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex. It is the court interpretations, federal regulations, and administrative rulings that have made it so challenging to determine what schools are required to do when allegations of sexual misconduct arise. 

Because the federal government frequently changes the standards, it is important for a Title IX defense lawyer to compare the school policies with current standards to see if there’s a discrepancy. For instance, the school policy manual may specify that a student accused of sexual harassment or assault may be found guilty based on a preponderance of the evidence while the government may require a higher standard. 

The Circumstances Make a Difference

In a Title IX proceeding involving sexual assault allegations, the process is designed to protect the alleged victim. It is far less likely that the accused student will have the opportunity to confront or cross-examine their accuser in this type of disciplinary proceeding than they might if the allegations involved cheating or drinking on campus. 

The ability to introduce evidence may be substantially limited by the circumstances as well. Schools can justify limiting the rights of the accused on the grounds that they are protecting other students’ privacy concerns.

An Experienced Title IX Defense Lawyer Will Fight to Protect Due Process Rights

If you are accused of a Title IX violation, the laws and school policies may grant you some due process rights. However, if you do not take steps to preserve those rights, you may lose them. 

Even if you are not permitted to have an attorney represent you during disciplinary hearings, advice and guidance from an experienced Title IX defense lawyer could be an invaluable tool to help you maneuver through the proceedings to reach a positive outcome. Contact the knowledgeable Title IX attorneys at Binnall Law Group to learn more about the advantages we could provide in your case.