Title IX, a federal civil rights law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or educational program that receives federal funding. It extends to various aspects of education, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.
This blog post aims to provide a clear and concise explanation of the Title IX process. It is important to note that the specifics of the Title IX process can vary somewhat from one institution to another.
The Title IX Hearing Process
The Title IX process usually begins with the filing of a complaint. The complainant can be a victim, a witness, or anyone else who becomes aware of potential discrimination.
The Title IX Coordinator reviews the complaint to determine if it falls within Title IX's scope. If it does, they initiate an investigation; if not, they may refer the matter to another appropriate office or department within the institution.
Title IX Investigation
Once a complaint is filed, the first phase of any Title IX process is the investigation. The school, through its Title IX office, will carefully examine the allegations or complaints of gender-based harm. Both parties involved (the complainant and the respondent) will be notified when the investigation begins.
During the investigation, the school must conduct an adequate, reliable, prompt, and impartial examination of the complaints at issue. This involves collecting and reviewing evidence, interviewing the parties involved and any potential witnesses, and documenting any findings. At the end of the investigation, the parties will be notified of the investigator's factual findings and preliminary determination about policy violations.
Title IX Determination Hearing
Following the investigation, if the case proceeds, the next step is a hearing. Hearings often take between one and three full days and involve presenting evidence and possibly cross-examining witnesses. They are designed to provide due process to both complainants and respondents.
After the hearing, a determination is made based on the evidence presented. Both parties will be notified of the outcome, including any sanctions that may be imposed if a policy violation is found.
What Outcomes Are Possible After a Hearing?
If a person is found to be innocent of the allegations, the case can be dismissed. However, if found guilty, the consequences of a Title IX violation can be severe and long-lasting, potentially including academic probation, suspension, or even expulsion. They may also face reputational damage.
It is also important to note that those found guilty:
Will not be able to obtain their transcript if suspended.
Will not be able to transfer credits earned at other institutions during their suspension.
May have difficulties obtaining employment or enrollment at another institution after adjudication.
Appealing a Title IX Determination
If either party is dissatisfied with the outcome of the hearing, they typically have the opportunity to appeal. The grounds for appeal can vary from school to school, but often include things like procedural errors or new evidence coming to light.
Learn more from our blog, “Can You Appeal a Title IX Decision?”
Our Firm Can Help
If you are involved in a Title IX case, Parisi, Coan & Saccocio, PLLC can act as steadfast allies and sound legal counsel throughout the proceedings. We vigorously defend our clients' rights while ensuring they are treated fairly throughout the process. We represent those who believe their Title IX rights have been violated including (but not limited to):
Those who bring a claim forward
Faculty and staff
Call (737) 200-2332 to discuss your case with a member of our firm.