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What Your College Student Needs to Know About Title IX

Title IX By Binnall Law Group - 2021/08/20 at 10:39pm

All across the country, students are heading off to college, many for the first time. They will be thinking about seeing friends, going to parties, and maybe even getting ready for class. Chances are they will not be thinking about Title IX. 

But they should be. As a parent, educating your college student about Title IX could be one of the most important actions you take to prepare for the start of the school year. It can be reassuring to know that you can consult a knowledgeable Title IX attorney if you have questions or any signs of trouble arise. 

The Statute is Short But the Reach is Long

The term “Title IX” refers to that numbered section in the Education Amendments of 1972, incorporated in the U.S. Code starting at 20 U.S.C. §1681. The key component of this law is the provision specifying that “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 

It sounds like a simple prohibition on discrimination. However, court decisions and Department of Education regulations have expanded this phrase to require schools to take extensive measures to address all kinds of actions and behaviors on campus. While many students think of the effect this provision has had on college athletic programs, the area where it impacts them the most is usually with respect to allegations of sexual misconduct

Both the Rights of Victims and the Accused are Important

As students head off to school, they should be aware that if they experience sexual harassment or assault, they have the right to file a Title IX complaint about the incident. This is in addition to their right to file a civil lawsuit or pursue criminal charges. They have the right to an investigation and the opportunity to present their case. Schools are required to have a Title IX Coordinator to oversee the complaint process and to publicize their policies addressing discriminatory conduct. 

Students who are accused of wrongdoing under Title IX also have rights. However, those rights are often not as well-publicized as the rights of those alleged to have suffered from harassment or assault. Accused students facing campus disciplinary proceedings are often not granted the same protections they would if they were facing allegations in court. Yet the outcome could brand them as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. 

Students defending against a Title IX complaint often find it beneficial to consult a knowledgeable Title IX attorney to protect their rights and opportunities going forward. For instance, even if a student cannot be represented by an attorney during school proceedings, an experienced Title IX legal advisor could prepare the student to answer questions in a way that prevents them from saying something that could be taken out of context and used against them.

The Bottom Line for Back to School

Students need to be careful on campus. Saying or doing the wrong thing could put their future at risk. However, if they get into trouble, they need to know that help is available, and avoiding a problem will not make it go away. Whether they need to file a Title IX complaint or defend against an allegation, students should understand how to take advantage of the protections available. 

The experienced legal team at Binnall Law Group is familiar with challenges faced by those trying to defend themselves in a school setting and knows how to overcome the obstacles to prevail in defense of a Title IX dispute. To learn more about how a dedicated Title IX attorney from our team could help you or a loved one, contact us for a confidential consultation.