If you are accused of campus-related sexual assault, you will be subject to a Title IX hearing at your college or university. Although different schools have different processes, in general, a faculty-sourced panel will review the allegations and the evidence against you to determine whether to punish you or dismiss the case.
Title IX hearings can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience since your future is on the line. How you act and what you say will be heavily scrutinized by the panel, who may already view your case in an unfair and biased light.
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The following are several things to consider when preparing for a Title IX hearing:
- Your demeanor – How you present yourself at the hearing can make or break your case. In most cases, the accuser will be emotional when giving their testimony, which may lead to an overwhelming amount of support for the accuser. If you aren’t prepared for this, your initial impulse is to feel frustration and become angry. Unfortunately, expressing anger can contribute to the narrative of you being the aggressor in the alleged incident. No matter how difficult it may be, you must remain composed and control your impulses.
- Your statement – During the hearing, you will present a statement about your account of the alleged incident. Before you make your statement before the panel, you must practice reciting it enough times until you don’t show anger. Do your best to show empathy toward your accuser. According to several studies, the false statements made by accusers are not intentional; instead, they have an altered perception of the incident. While it is normal to be regretful of the whole situation, you may express this feeling without admitting guilt. For example, admitting you made a mistake like drinking too much or acting disrespectful toward your accuser is not the same as admitting to sexual misconduct. You may discuss how much stress and pain the accusations have affected you and your loved ones, as well as other aspects of your life like your academics.
- When evidence is discussed – Evidence such as a diagram of the location where the alleged incident occurred, items gathered at the scene, text messages, and even posts on social media will be reviewed at the hearing. Since you will be required to address all the evidence, you must reference that evidence in your statement. Ensure you have enough copies for every person on the panel, so they can follow along when you’re presenting the evidence.
- Answering questions – Since you will be asked difficult questions about the alleged incident, ask your family, friends, or anyone you trust to ask you any difficult questions that the panel may ask you during the hearing. Ensure your reactions and tone to these questions are consistent with your demeanor.
If you have been accused of campus-related sexual assault, it is wise to hire an experienced Title IX defense attorney to protect your rights and future. Your lawyer can review your case, prepare you for your hearing, and help you obtain the most favorable outcome in your case.
Facing a Title IX investigation in New York, California, Texas, or Arizona? Contact Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC today and request a consultation.