Please call us to discuss your case further.
Title IX investigations are confidential investigations generally protected by the scope of FERPA.
Yes, we have experience representing student organizations. Please call us to discuss your case further.
In order to determine whether you may have the ability to initiate litigation against your school, please call us to discuss your case further. Generally, in order to bring litigation at the conclusion of a campus Title IX proceeding, all administrative avenues (such as appeals) must be exhausted.
If you suspect a Title IX complaint may be filed against you, contact a lawyer to begin determining what evidence may be relevant and useful. If you believe you may be involved in an investigation, you may also find our Title IX Crisis Management Plan helpful.
A school can impose discipline under Title IX for incidents that occur within the school’s education program or activity, against a person within the United States. An education program or activity includes locations, events, or circumstances over which the school exercises substantial control over the respondent and the context in which the harassment occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the school.
Prior to the implementation of the new regulations, schools could impose discipline for Title IX violations that occurred on campus or off campus. Under the new Title IX regulations, schools only possess Title IX “jurisdiction” for incidents that occur within the school’s education program or activity, against a person within the United States. An education program or activity includes locations, events, or circumstances over which the school exercises substantial control over the respondent and the context in which the harassment occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the school. Study abroad programs are specifically excluded from the reach of Title IX. However, schools may still process such complaints outside the “jurisdiction” of Title IX under traditional student codes of conduct.
Historically, we represented respondents. However, in more recent years, our practice evolved to represent complainants and respondents given the demand for our services.
We have been representing students in campus Title IX proceedings since the early days of implementation of the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. We don’t have a specific “success rate” and would be incredulous of any statistic provided by a lawyer given the unique nature of Title IX cases. A successful outcome can be many things: winning a hearing, successfully negotiating information resolution, or navigating restorative justice.
Yes, we represent students nationwide. We can travel when necessary or participate through virtual platforms.
The official answer is no. Recognizing the importance of the Fifth Amendment right to silence, the new regulations prohibit a school from drawing any inference about responsibility for a policy violation from a party’s refusal to participate in the process. However, on a practical level, respondents who do not participate in the process generally do not fare well because the claims remain unchallenged.
FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of students’ education records. A school cannot share Title IX information with parents without the written permission of the student. While some students may not want to share case details with parents or loved ones, we encourage students to talk to their parents about what’s going on.
Every student going through the Title IX process should feel comfortable with his or her advisor. However, at any point in the process a student can change advisors.
A student is entitled to select an advisor of choice. In fact, the new regulations clearly state that a school may not limit the choice or presence of an advisor. Having a Cleveland Title IX lawyer serve as an advisor is important because that stakes are so high and Title IX cases have long-lasting consequences. A lawyer can assist with preparing the case to ensure that the student’s rights are fully protected and the relevant evidence is presented in a persuasive manner.
A respondent must be presumed not responsible. A respondent is entitled to a fair and equitable process. The burden of proof rests on the school.
A complainant is entitled to a fair and equitable process. The burden of proof rests on the school.
The investigation is the process by which the school collects evidence. An investigator may be employed by the school or a third-party (typically a lawyer) hired by the school. A school may assign multiple investigators to a case, depending upon the complexity of the matter. The investigative process should be fair and equitable, which means that any opportunity a school offers to one party, it must offer to the other. During the investigation, an investigator meets with the complainant, respondent, and witnesses to gather evidence.
The Department of Education’s Q&A expressly noted that the regulations are not retroactive.
The new Title IX regulations have the effect of law and provide greater due process rights to all parties involved in campus Title IX proceedings. There are significant changes in the new regulations regarding the scope of campus Title IX policies and the processes used by schools when responding to Title IX complaints.
In a Title IX hearing a panel of administrators, selected by the school, determine the outcome of the investigation.
In criminal court there is a judge that makes the final decision.
In a Title IX hearing the standard of proof must be pre-determined by the institution, but it can vary from campus to campus.
In criminal court, the complainant must convince the court that the defendant is guilty beyond any reasonable doubt
In a Title IX hearing there is an investigator selected by the school that is responsible for collecting evidence.
In criminal court law enforcement is responsible for collecting the evidence.
In a Title IX hearing the defendant risks the possibilities of being expelled or suspended, losing credit hours of losing their diploma altogether.
In criminal court the defendant risks the possibilities of being sent to prison, charged with a Felony, or registered as a sex offender
At any time, a complainant in a Title IX case can decide to report the conduct in question to the police. In fact, under the law, schools are required to advise complainants that they have the right to contact the police to file a report. That being said, just because a report is made to the police does necessarily guarantee that criminal charges will be filed. Police will conduct an investigation and then a prosecutor will review the case to determine whether prosecution is appropriate.
A Title IX investigation and a criminal case are very different. While the two types of cases may involve the same alleged conduct and the same people, that’s where the similarities end. A Title IX case is an administrative matter that can impact an accused student’s educational record and enrollment status with an educational institution. A criminal case involves charges prosecuted in a court of law. An accused student in a Title IX case can be found responsible, but the student will not go to jail. If an accused student is found guilty of a criminal offense, the student may face a penalty of imprisonment and sex offender registration. An accused student in a Title IX case does not have a constitutionally protected right to silence like the student does in a criminal case. The burdens of proof are also different. Title IX claims are generally evaluated for a preponderance of evidence, whereas criminal charges must be proven by a prosecutor beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest burden of proof in our legal system.