Title IX & ROTCServices
Colleges around the country offer Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs for students. Each service branch of the military has its own ROTC program. These programs provide students at non-military colleges with training that will allow the students to become commissioned military officers. ROTC programs are the largest source of commissioned officers in the military. ROTC students often receive college scholarships in exchange for a commitment to serve in the military for a specified number of years following graduation.
Important to Know:
Does Title IX Apply to ROTC Students?
Yes, Title IX applies to ROTC students. Although Title IX does not apply to military institutions with the primary purpose of training individuals for the military, Title IX does apply to ROTC students at colleges and universities. Why? ROTC students are not in the military while enrolled in school on civilian campuses. As such, they are members of the school community where the ROTC program operates, and they must follow the school’s regulations, code of conduct and Title IX sexual misconduct policy. The same holds true for ROTC instructors, who are also subject to Title IX.
In addition to applying to ROTC students, TItle IX also applies to educational institutions that are not federal services academies, but that do provide extensive military training.
Alternate Education Systems Subject to Title IX
In addition to applying to ROTC students, Title IX also applies to educational institutions that are not federal services academies, but that do provide extensive military training. These institutions include:
- University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, GA
- New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, NM
- Valley Forge Military Academy in Valley Forge, PA
- The Citadel in Charleston, SC
- Texas A&M in College Station, TX
- Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, VA
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, VA
- Norwich University in Northfield, VT
Building a Title IX Defense for ROTC Students
Building an effective defense begins with proper notice of the allegations. It is not uncommon for schools to issue bare notice letters that amount to little more than a recitation of specific sections of the school’s sexual misconduct policy. An accused student should push to receive information regarding the identity of the complainant, as well as the date and location of the alleged conduct, not to mention the precise conduct at issue. A notice letter that merely recites that a complaint of sexual assault was filed against a student is insufficient. After sufficient notice is provided, both the complainant and respondent will be asked to submit to an interview with an investigator. The investigator is tasked with gathering all relevant information, both inculpatory (evidence that supports that a policy violation occurred) and exculpatory (evidence that supports that a policy violation did not occur). An accused student will have the opportunity to submit the names of witnesses to be interviewed, as well as other evidence. Text messages, social media and medical records are often critical evidence in Title IX cases. It is important to preserve all electronic evidence. Following the completion of an investigation, both the complainant and respondent will be afforded an opportunity to review and respond to the investigative report. Ultimately, a hearing will be held where evidence will be presented and witnesses will testify before a hearing panel. Members of the hearing panel, as well as the party’s advisors, will have the opportunity to pose questions.
ROTC Disenrollment HeaRings:
After the Title IX Investigation
After the campus Title IX proceeding ends, a Title IX finding of responsibility will likely lead to an ROTC disenrollment hearing. A disenrollment hearing is like an administrative “trial” where witnesses testify and evidence is presented. The stakes are high. A disenrolled ROTC student could lose his/her commission and be forced to repay scholarship money, which can often be well over $100,000.
Enrollment in ROTC requires signing a contract with terms and conditions. In addition to requiring compliance with a school’s code of conduct, these contracts often require continuous enrollment in school until graduation. In practical terms, if an ROTC student is found responsible for a Title IX policy violation and suspended from school, much less expelled, the ROTC student has likely breached the contract. While some may think that a disenrolled ROTC student can simply enroll in the military to pay back scholarship dollars, this avenue is not always available.
Other Top Questions
Title IX & ROTC
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens to an ROTC student after being accused of sexual misconduct in violation of Title IX?
Any student who faces a Title IX allegation should find an experienced Title IX advisor right away. Title IX investigations can have significant and far-reaching consequences for accused students. Because the burden of proof for a finding of responsibility in Title IX cases is generally a preponderance of the evidence — sometimes referred to as 50% plus a feather — it is essential that accused students mount a comprehensive defense from day one.
What happens if the Title IX complainant and respondent are both ROTC students?
ROTC units at schools must comply with any interim measures put in place by a school. As such, if a school issues a No Contact Order, ROTC will be required to separate the cadets from each other in ROTC classes as well as training.