Process of a College Park Title IX Investigation

First passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX is a federal law that bars discrimination based on sex from any educational programs or entities that receive federal funding. Universities, in particular, are required to comply with Title IX. They must maintain a process for the reporting and investigation of allegations of sexual discrimination.

As a student, your education and your future could be in jeopardy following a Title IX complaint. If the school determines there is merit to the allegations against you, they could forward your case to a disciplinary board. The board could issue a variety of penalties if they rule against you, including your expulsion from school.

You have due process rights at a Title IX hearing. Out of all of them, your right to representation by a dedicated attorney could be the most important. Your legal counsel could advise you on the process of a College Park Title IX investigation before guiding you through it every step of the way.

How is an Investigation is Initiated?

The manner in which a school initiates a Title IX investigation differs from one campus to another. For the University of Maryland, the process begins with the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct. All schools that receive federal funding operate some form of an office dedicated to informing students of their rights under Title IX.

An investigation begins with a formal complaint filed with a school Title IX office. These complaints could involve behavior regarding staff or students. They might cover anything from claims of sexual discrimination to unwanted sexual advances.

The office typically investigates the claim initially to determine if it is grounded in fact or based on bad faith. The office is usually empowered to close the file due to a lack of evidence or forward the complaint to a disciplinary board.

The Burden of Proof in a Title IX Hearing

If the allegations in the complaint are substantiated, it is ultimately the disciplinary board that controls the student’s fate. To determine if discipline is necessary, the board can hold a hearing to review the student’s alleged conduct.

It is valuable to remember that this is not a criminal hearing. Many of the rights guaranteed to a criminal defendant are not present in Title IX hearings. The board can typically call any witness they want, even if they have nothing to offer but hearsay evidence. The board could also require the student to testify or face expulsion if they refuse.

The burden in a Title IX hearing is much lower than a criminal case. Instead of having to prove allegations beyond a reasonable doubt, the school needs only to convince the board it is more likely than not the allegations are true.

The Right to Appeal

If the board’s decision is unfavorable to the student, there is a right to appeal. Each school has a different appeals policy, but it typically places the decision to review the case in the hands of a higher-level administrator at the school.

An Attorney Could Guide you Through the Title IX Process

Every publicly-funded university in College Park is required to inform students of their rights under Title IX. Likewise, these universities must put into place a process to investigate allegations of discrimination and sexual misconduct.

If you are facing a Title IX complaint in College Park, you do not have to face this threat alone. Your attorney could work with you to ensure you understand the nature of the Title IX process and how it could impact your life.