When an individual is accused of campus-related sexual misconduct allegations he or she may be facing the possibility of a serious sanction, including expulsion from college (or university) and a permanent record of misconduct. In some instances, the allegations of sexual misconduct contained in a Title IX Notice of Charge may include events that have the potential to have criminal ramifications. An expulsion or a record of sexual misconduct is potentially life-changing. The policies and processes associated with a Title IX investigation can be complicated and confusing. For these reasons, it is advantageous to retain an experienced and professional advisor at the earliest possible opportunity to help guide the accused through the Title IX process.
It is important to understand that the Title IX process can move rather quickly. An accused individual may be required to meet with the school’s Title IX investigator or provide a written response to the allegations of misconduct in a short period of time. For this reason, and many others, it is beneficial to retain an experienced advisor prior to making any statements responding to the allegations of misconduct – either oral or in writing – to a Title IX investigator or other college or university official.
An experienced advisor will understand the detailed Title IX procedures (including the recently promulgated regulations which will govern the Title IX process) and the college or university policies that are at issue in the Title IX investigation and adjudicatory process. Oftentimes, accused students or employees believe that any delay or the retaining of an advisor could be construed as an indication of guilt. This is simply not the case. Additionally, the advisor will take steps to ensure that the accused is educated as to the Title IX process and possible ramifications of any actions or statements made by the accused. For example, an individual falsely accused of non-consensual sex with another student needs to understand the university definition of consent and be able to articulate how that consent was obtained. To rush into an interview with a trained Title IX investigator without an advisor or knowledge of what is at stake in the process and the technical allegations under the college’s or university’s policy can result in a finding of wrongdoing simply because the accused does not understand what he or she needs to truthfully make clear to the investigator.
An advisor can also make a demand for greater specificity if the Notice of Charge is not sufficiently detailed or clear or fails to provide information required by law. If the Notice of Charge is vague or unclear, how can the accused be properly prepared to talk to a Title IX investigator?
Being accused of sexual misconduct is a harrowing experience. It is beneficial to have the services of an experienced advisor to provide appropriate guidance and support through this most difficult experience. It is always best to retain an advisor prior to officially communicating with a Title IX investigator or campus official about the accusations at issue.
Having the right advisor is critical to ensuring that an individual charged with sexual misconduct receives and understands all of the rights that that individual is entitled to. Parisi Coan & Saccocio is dedicated to that precise mission.