Should You Hire an Attorney for a Title IX Hearing?
Taking legal action under Title IX can help you and other students as well. Title IX is a tool that is designed to combat high school and college discrimination based on sex. The law is applicable to any institution that receives federal financial assistance. The law requires all students to be given an equal opportunity to education regardless of their gender.
If you have Title IX complaint, an attorney can help you maneuver the process successfully. The law views sexual assault, or harassment of any kind as an interference with the learning environment for students based on their gender.
How is a Title IX hearing different from a criminal trial?
Your school may determine any report of alleged sexual misconduct merits a hearing if it happened on campus. It doesn’t matter whether you have not been charged formally with any crime. Most likely, such hearing will take place before a disciplinary committee, including students and stuff, depending on your college or school.
The hearing purpose is not to determine your criminal guilt or innocence, but to assess whether academic penalties are applicable. The school has no obligation to conduct any hearing as a court would do for a criminal trial. What does that mean in practice? It means that as the accused student, you are not considered innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, you may be prevented from cross-examining your accuser and your school may bar your attorney from standing on your behalf during the hearing itself.
Additionally, the school committee may make conclusive decisions about your future without any legal protections of your rights in place.
Who can file
Anyone can file as long as they believe t there has been an act of discrimination based on sex against any person or group in an activity or program that receives ED Financial assistance. That person is supposed to file a complaint using OCR under Title IX. The filing process requires that the person or group not be a victim of the suspected discrimination but may be affected by a general hostile sexual environment or complaint on behalf of a group or person. Also, any complaint should be directed to the OCR enforcement office, which serves the state in which the alleged discrimination happened.
When to File
By law, any complaint is a must to be filed within 180 days of the alleged discrimination, unless the filing duration is extended for a good cause by the Enforcement Officer Director. Before filing a complaint with OCR against a school or college, a potential complainant may decide to use their institution’s grievance process to have the complaint determined.
In cases where an accuser uses an institutional grievance process, their Title IX complaint is supposed to be filed with OCR within 60 days after the last act of the grievance process.
Having an attorney to represent you is important for your Title IX hearing to help challenge the system where it may be violating your rights. Your attorney can be instrumental in helping you understand your legal rights and how to stand up for them even if your college does not allow your presentation or to ask questions.
Do not suffer alone while you can get an attorney to help you navigate through a process that may be hard for you to beat.