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WHAT TO EXPECT AT A TITLE IX HEARING

Messina Madson & Kendall Castello, MC Criminal Law Jan. 20, 2022

In Texas, post-secondary institutions — colleges and universities — use Title IX hearings to investigate and remedy allegations of sexual misconduct involving students and faculty members. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 12,300 total reported forcible sex offense incidents on campuses of tertiary institutions throughout the United States in 2018.

If you've been accused of a sex crime on your college campus, your educational, personal, and professional opportunities are on the line, and you should contact a knowledgeable Texas criminal defense attorney immediately. From the moment a complaint is made all communications may be a part of your final hearing, therefore, seeking legal advice should be the very first thing you consider. With over 30 years of combined experience, MC Criminal Law has the expertise to support and guide students and faculty members at the center of Title IX investigations in Dallas and throughout North Texas, including Fort Worth, Denton, and McKinney.

Preparing for the Title IX Hearing

A Title IX proceeding can commence as soon as the administrative officers of the institution receive a complaint of sexual misconduct by a student against another student or by a faculty member against a student. The complaint may include sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse, stalking, date rape, or making sexually inappropriate comments. The hearings are usually conducted on campus.

These serious allegations could mean significant, immediate, and life-long consequences to your personal reputation, liberty, education, career, or future professional opportunities. In light of this, it is completely normal to feel scared. It is critical that you speak with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to intervene on your behalf and prep you for your Title IX hearing.

Unfortunately, you cannot be represented by legal counsel during your Title IX hearing. However, Title IX regulations allow the accused party to be provided with an attorney during the process. As your advocate, we will help you understand your current situation and carry out a thorough, private investigation to gather key evidence. Our experienced attorneys will prepare you for your Title IX hearing and coach you through any and all legal proceedings.

Before the Hearing

Before the hearing, you will be asked to give your statement in an interview. Your attorney can prep you for the interview and coach you on answering questions like:

  • How did the two parties meet?

  • When did you start dating?

  • If the relationship was sexual, how did you determine consent?

Your attorney also can help gather necessary information and critical evidence to back up your case.

The Title IX Hearing

The Title IX hearing process includes:

Investigation

Title IX hearings usually involve a panel of investigators comprised of selected faculty members. The panel will evaluate the accusations and evidence brought against you. You will also be asked extremely personal and broad questions regarding your relationship and any sexual relations with your accuser. Before attending the interview or giving any statement, an attorney can help you gather adequate information to support your side of the story.

Determination Hearing

A neutral hearing officer will conduct a determination hearing that reviews the evidence gathered during the investigation. The hearing officer will use this information to decide whether the accused party acted against the institution’s code of conduct. An experienced attorney can coach you on how to give good opening/closing statements and best represent yourself during the interview and hearing.

Possible Outcomes of the Hearing

If the accused party is found to be innocent of the sexual misconduct allegations, the complaint can be dismissed. If found guilty, however, you could face potential dismissal, expulsion from the institution, and other devastating penalties.

What Happens If You’re Found “Guilty”?

If you are found guilty, here are the possible punishments:

  • For sexual misconduct — sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, unconsented sex, sex with an incapacitated person — you (the accused party) will be suspended (for at least a year) or expelled.

  • If you’re suspended, you can’t get your transcript. Also, the school won’t take credits that you’ve earned at another school during your suspension. In fact, you may have to face more requirements from the school to get back in.

  • If you apply elsewhere, you may need to undertake education/college-level courses, workshops, community service, counseling, rehab, or AA meetings before you can get back in.

  • If you’re expelled, getting another 4-year college to accept you after another school adjudicated you for sexual misconduct will be extremely difficult.

Can You Withdraw From the Institution Following the Allegations?

If you withdraw from the university following your sexual misconduct allegations, the school will continue the investigation with or without you being enrolled. Even if you leave the school — permanently or temporarily — you must participate in the investigation.

What’s more, if you leave the school and try to seek admission elsewhere, your application at the new school will ask whether you’ve been accused of sexual misconduct or found to be in violation of a sexual misconduct rule at another institution. If you lie, the school will eventually find out about the truth and kick you out for academic fraud.

An experienced attorney can evaluate the outcome of the determination hearing and help decide whether you are eligible for appeal.

Appeal

If the hearing officer’s decision doesn’t turn out the way you wanted, you may be entitled to appeal the decision. Our attorneys can help you work on your appeal and increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

How Skilled Legal Counsel Can Help

Facing a sexual misconduct allegation on campus can be scary and complicated, and you shouldn’t face it alone. With immediate intervention, our attorneys may be able to extinguish any speculative investigation. If a Title IX hearing must proceed, however, we can improve your chances of reaching the best possible result. We will evaluate and investigate all of the facts of your unique situation and guide you through every phase of the process.

At MC Criminal Law, we’re are committed to seeking the truth and helping individuals in tertiary institutions defend themselves against sex crimes charges. Contact us at MC Criminal Law today to schedule a consultation. We’re proud to serve students and faculty members in Dallas and throughout North Texas, including Fort Worth, Denton, and McKinney.

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