Rights During a Richmond Title IX Investigation

If you are a student and have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual violence, or another form of sex-based misconduct, you could be facing severe consequences. It is essential that you know your rights during a Richmond Title IX investigation. An attorney could explain your rights and ensure they are not violated.

You are not entitled to the same due process rights during a Title IX investigation that are guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution during criminal proceedings. Further, the burden of proof for establishing guilt is much lower. A determined Title IX attorney could explain how campus proceedings differ from criminal ones.

Overview of Title IX Investigations

Title IX is a federal law requiring any school receiving federal funds to establish a process for handling claims of sexual misconduct. There must be a process in place for students to report offenses against them, as well as procedures for investigating such claims.

During the investigation, school officials might interview or gather written statements from witnesses, as well as interview or take a statement from the accused student. Part of the process often includes disciplinary hearings in which they review evidence and assess the guilt or innocence of the accused student.

Under Title IX, schools are expected to take disciplinary action when students are determined to be guilty of sexual misconduct allegations. Disciplinary measures could include loss of campus housing, restrictions on participation in extracurricular activities, suspension from school, or expulsion. A lawyer who knows Title IX law could answer specific questions about how it impacts student rights at Richmond schools.

Student Rights During Title IX Investigations

During a Title IX investigation, students accused of sexual misconduct are afforded certain rights. The specific rights granted can differ slightly from one school to another. In general, examples of student rights that are common across many districts include:

  • The right to be informed of the allegations
  • The right to be notified promptly of upcoming disciplinary hearings
  • The right to have a support person, such as a lawyer, present during hearings
  • The right to submit or make a statement in defense of themselves
  • The right to submit other forms of evidence at disciplinary hearings
  • The right to have the situation resolved in a timely manner
  • The right to a certain degree of privacy

Many schools have formally documented the list of student rights during Title IX proceedings so the information is readily accessible. A local attorney could help a student know their rights during a Title IX investigation.

Difference Between Student Rights and Due Process Rights

During criminal proceedings, defendants are entitled to several due process rights under the Constitution of the United States. Some of these rights include a presumption of innocence, the right to cross-examine witnesses for the prosecution, and protection against being found guilty when reasonable doubt exists. During a campus Title IX investigation, students are not necessarily guaranteed these same rights.

There is no requirement for schools to allow accused students the right to question witnesses who made statements against them. The sensitive nature of sexual misconduct allegations makes it unlikely that most schools would allow cross-examination of witnesses by students under investigation.

Additionally, a student can be found guilty of committing a sexual offense even if reasonable doubt exists. Officials only have to establish that the offense was likely to have been committed by the accused student, which means it is much easier to be found guilty during a Title IX investigation than during a criminal trial.

Contact a Richmond Lawyer About Your Rights During a Title IX Investigation

It is critical that you understand that constitutional protections for those charged with crimes do not necessarily protect students accused of sexual misconduct. Make sure you know your rights during a Richmond Title IX investigation and are being treated fairly.

Call today to learn how an attorney could clarify and protect your rights.