For the past few years, we have seen an increase in Title IX filings against students a few weeks before seniors are expected to graduate from college. Under the law, any student who attends a college or university which receives funding through the federal government has the right to file a complaint under Title IX of the Education Amendment Acts of 1972. Title IX exists to protect students and staff in higher education from sexual discrimination or harassment. Although there is generally a wide window of time available for students to file these claims, many students wait to file claims years after an incident occurs.
Why do students file Title IX actions close to graduation? Delaying a Title IX action could occur for a variety of reasons. Some students might need to process a sexual assault emotionally with a therapist. Others may prefer to avoid conflict by pursuing the claim when their studies are over, and they are ready to leave campus.
Motivations for Delaying Title IX Complaints
There is no easy way to understand the myriad of reasons why a student might delay filing a Title IX complaint until they are nearing graduation. Everyone has a different reaction to sensitive issues, which means the reasons for putting off these decisions could be as varied as the student body itself. We always encourage prompt reporting of claims to ensure that witnesses and evidence is still available in a case.
Sometimes, the timing of complaints might just be coincidental. This is especially likely in cases where the allegations came toward the end of the student’s final year. However, this is likely only the case for a small percentage of claims.
As we have stated above, some students might prefer not to deal with the fallout of a potential Title IX investigation while they are in school. Filing earlier could mean dealing with administration officials, the respondent, or the respondent’s friends while still on campus. Many students fear retaliation or judgment. Nevertheless, most schools have anti-retaliation policies in place.
Time Limits on Title IX Actions
While a delay in filing a Title IX complaint can happen, the window of time for these claims is not limitless. Many school policies have stated timelines in which to bring an action. The failure to file these claims on time could result in a rejection of the claim.
Talk to an Attorney About a Title IX Action
We encourage timely filing of complaints. If you are facing allegations of misconduct or wish to pursue a Title IX complaint on campus, you have the right to seek legal counsel immediately. You have the right to legal counsel for not only Title IX actions, but for criminal charges and school disciplinary hearings as well. Contact KJK right away to learn how we can help.