What is Title IX?
Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded educational program or activity. Public (state) schools and private schools that receive any type of federal assistance must comply with Title IX. Any failure to comply will result in loss of federal funds.
What Happens in Title IX Investigations?
Title IX commands schools to investigate and address sexual assault cases involving their students independently of any simultaneous or related criminal charge. Specifically, the law compels colleges and universities to set up their own system of investigating reports of sexual violence, interrogating alleged suspects, interviewing supposed witnesses, collecting purported evidence, and subjecting the accused student to a disciplinary hearing.
Many accused students who do not understand how to exercise their rights in these proceedings unjustly wind up with permanent scars on their record; scars that could have been avoided had they hired a strong attorney to defend them.
What Are the Penalties for a Title IX Violation?
Students who are accused of Title IX violations may be facing severe and life-altering penalties such as:
- School probation and suspension
- Expulsion from college or university
- Sex offender registration
These penalties can have a devastating effect on one’s educational and career goals, as well as their personal lives and reputation.
Ambiguous Affirmative Consent Policies
Due to pressure by the federal government, many colleges are imposing rules on their students concerning the type and nature of consent that is required before any sexual activity occurs.
All of the following colleges and universities in Minnesota have some type of sexual consent rules:
- Univ. of St. Thomas
- Concordia University
- Macalester College
- St. Olaf College
- Gustavus Adolphus College
- Carlton College
- Hamline University
- Augsburg College
- St. Catherine College
- St. Scholastica College
University of Minnesota
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Consent policies and rules vary from school to school and may be difficult to understand. For example, most policies state that consent cannot be obtained if the person is "unable" to consent, but they never clearly define what “unable” means. This is especially problematic when the parties are consuming alcohol.
Can a person who is "buzzed" or "light-headed" consent? What if a person is drunk but does not show any signs of intoxication so no one knows that they are drunk? Ultimately, anyone’s common sense understanding of consent may be quite different than how a college defines consent. Our attorneys understand this and know how to protect the rights of accused students in these situations.
Education Secretary Proposes Changes to Title IX
Recently, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed new changes to Title IX that will bolster the rights of students who have been accused of assault, harassment, or rape on college campuses. The new changes will narrow the definition of sexual harassment and will only hold schools accountable for formal complaints that have been filed with the proper authorities and for misconduct said to have occurred on the school’s campus.
DeVos’s proposal will also create a higher legal standard when determining if a school improperly addressed a complaint filed by a student. The changes will end Obama-era guidelines that colleges and critics say trampled the due-process rights of students accused of sexual misconduct.
- What are Title IX Violations and how can a student defense attorney help?
- The Title IX Disciplinary Process in Minnesota
- Title IX FAQ
- Changes in Title IX
If you, your son, or your daughter is being accused of sexual assault or another disciplinary matter at college, do not delay in contacting a Minneapolis Title IX lawyer at our firm. Our office can be reached at (612) 444-5020.