Title IX (9) Hearings or Investigations in DuPage County -- A Primer
In the era of the #metoo movement, it's clear how damaging the accusation of sexual misconduct or assault can be to a person's reputation -- in both immediate and long-lasting ways. For students who are attending school and looking forward to bright futures, a sexual misconduct allegation can too easily devolve into a Title IX hearing and effectively derail their lives.
Title IX investigations or hearings can put a student's academic prospects in jeopardy and their entire future at stake. That is why, if a loved one -- or you, yourself -- are facing the possibility of a Title IX case, it is imperative that you take early action and know your rights and options. Schedule your free consultation today to discuss your legal options with results-driven criminal defense attorneys who can provide the tailored solutions you need to protect you and your family. With over 50 years of combined legal experience, we know what it takes to defend Title IX cases, and we pride ourselves in providing customized, proactive strategies to secure optimal outcomes for our clients.
Title IX Investigations and Cases -- What Do I Need to Know?
Title IX investigations are different than criminal cases, in that they involve academic institutions rather than law enforcement. So, while a Title IX case doesn't directly lead to criminal penalties, they can lead to severe consequences to a student's academic career, such as academic suspension -- or in the most serious of cases -- expulsion.
Because the consequences of a Title IX case can be so damaging, it's important that you understand exactly what a Title IX case entails in the state of Illinois. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself or your loved ones from losing out on a promising future.
Below, we will discuss several key pieces of information you should know about DuPage County and Illinois Title IX hearings.
Understanding Title IX Codes
For many people, it's not entirely apparent what ‘Title IX' means. When you first hear the term, it may even sound innocuous to you, up until you learn about the real implications of a Title IX investigation.
Title IX earns its name from Title IX of the Education Amendments Act. The Education Amendments Act is a set of rules all academic institutions receiving funds from the United States Department of Education (DoED) are required to follow. Title IX of the Education Amendments Act specifically stipulates that every student has the right to an education which is free of sexual discrimination. Under the Title IX guidelines, a student who accuses another student of sexual misconduct may choose to initiate a Title IX case or investigation on the grounds that they are entitled to an education free of sexual discrimination.
Your Rights in a Title IX Case
If you or a family member are facing a Title IX investigation, it's important to understand what the accused's rights are and exercise them throughout the course of the investigation. Sometimes, understanding the rights and procedures in a Title IX investigation can make all the difference in the outcome of the case.
In a Title IX case, the accused student has the following rights:
- The right to receive notice of what charges are laid out against them
- The right to have their case heard by an impartial hearing officer
- The right to have legal counsel present during their hearing
- The right to review written records and evidence of the charges laid out against them
- The right to have their case heard and handled under the standard procedures which the institution uses for similar cases
The Title IX Process
It's important to know that the procedures for Title IX investigations will vary by academic institution. Because each university or college has its own unique student code and procedures, the Title IX code can be interpreted and enacted in different ways by the disciplinary board of each individual college or university. Therefore, Title IX cases can be quite stressful and challenging to navigate.
Furthermore, a Title IX case can occur simultaneously with a criminal case, or lead to one, which will only further complicate a student's life.
When facing a Title IX case, communication and knowledge are key. It's important to effectively and proactively communicate with the disciplinary board of the academic institution, while also being able to respond to developments in the case and keep up with how the case's progression. Definitely familiarize yourself with the university policy and student code for disciplinary hearings, as well. Make sure you ask the right questions and know the vital aspects of your case procedure, including how you will be notified of developments in your case, when and how you will be able to present your defense, and the amount of time you will have to prepare your defense.
In many instances, you may find that having legal counsel who understands Title IX investigations can be of an enormous and essential help to you and your family.
Preparing and Building your Title IX Defense
Title IX investigations and hearings can quickly grow messy, and empirical evidence can be your best friend. From the first moment you may suspect you are the subject of a Title IX allegation, it's important to start taking proactive steps to protect yourself and your future. The following evidence can be of paramount assistance to your defense if documented and used correctly in your case:
- Written communications (i.e. text/instant messages, emails) between the accused and the accuser
- Relevant communications which can offer additional context to your case (i.e. communication with friends which have relevance to the Title IX allegations)
- Witness statements
- Any media documenting the event(s) which are being addressed in the Title IX allegation
As is often the case, what may or may not help you is not always obvious or easy to guess. Sometimes, it takes the eye of a legal professional who understands the workings of Title IX cases to be able to analyze how a piece of evidence can impact a Title IX investigation.
Facing an Illinois Title IX Investigation? Contact Dolci & Weiland Attorneys for Your Legal Defense Needs
If you or a loved one are being accused of sexual misconduct or facing a Title IX investigation, the future is hanging in the balance. The next steps you take may be paramount for the outcome of the case. Because so much is at stake, the guidance and representation of an experienced criminal defense and Title IX lawyer can make all the difference in a Title IX investigation. To schedule a free consultation or speak with a lawyer today, give our office a call at (630) 261-9098