Title IX Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence: What is Title IX and How is it Applied on College Campuses

Although Title IX and its affiliated policies and procedures governs sexual misconduct and relationship violence related to college and university campuses, it is critical to recognize that an action commenced under Title IX is separate from the criminal justice system. Yes, crimes or harassment, for example, committed at Columbia University, New York University, Pace University, CUNY, Fordham University or any institution can also lead to an arrest and prosecution in Criminal Court as well as a petition for an order of protection in Family Court, each respective university will conduct its own investigation outside of these bodies. Parallel or not, upon completing their due diligence and following the Title IX investigation process, a decision will be rendered, a potential hearing held to ascertain what, if any violation, occurred and the appropriate punishment will be handed down.

This Title IX blog entry will provide a basic understanding of Title IX as it relates to sexual misconduct and relationship violence in the collegiate realm. Significantly more information with greater detail is available on Crotty Saland PC’s Title IX information page.

Title IX prohibits certain conduct. Some of these “offenses” are obvious and may also be criminal. Stalking, assault, rape, and related crimes violate Title IX. Beyond this, however, more general “sexual misconduct” also falls within the purview of Title IX. Simply, the spectrum is as wide as it is broad.

In addition to the type of prohibited conduct, it is also important to understand that the accuser or the accused (petitioner or respondent / victim or defendant), can be a student, administrator, employee or even a third party campus vendor. Moreover, while much of the wrongful or alleged acts likely occur on campus, Title IX’s arms extend well beyond the physical boundaries of a university. In fact, if an act occurs off campus, but was part of a program or employment tied to the university, then Title IX could provide a remedy for a victim. Moreover, even if the above two scenarios were not applicable, if as a result of an alleged act or acts there are or will be adverse effects on campus, then a student, employee, administrator, educator or other staff person could exercise his or her rights through a Title IX proceeding.

Upon reporting any form of victimization related to stalking, sexual misconduct and relationship violence, the university’s Title IX Coordinator will be in charge of moving an investigation forward one way or another. He or she will oversee and coordinate the investigation while also providing the parties with an understanding of the law (a preponderance of the evidence as opposed to proof beyond a reasonable doubt), educational opportunities and information on available resources available to parties while the process plays out.

Ultimately, as a Title IX Investigator conducts his or her role in interviewing both a complainant and respondent and performs whatever due diligence is necessary, he or she will reach a conclusion as to whether a violation occurred. If it is determined that you committed an offense, you may be offered an opportunity for an Administrative Resolution where both parties agree to allow the particular school to decide on the potential sanction as long as both parties also agree on that sanction once it is offered. Should this not be possible, the college will conduct a hearing, a finding will be made and, where applicable, hand down a punishment from something insignificant to a far more serious expulsion. After all is said and done, the parties cannot appeal the decision other than in a few circumstances, but they can challenge the sanction and “sentence.”

It should be lost on no one that this blog entry is incapable of educating you on your rights as either a victim or an accused, the nature of prohibited conduct or the procedures involved in a Title IX proceeding. However, one thing should be clear. With a low legal burden far below that of a criminal proceeding and minimal due process protections for the accused, a university or college can make a determination altering the trajectory of your life from disciplinary probation to complete expulsion.

To learn more about Title IX process, why its important to have a legal advisor, as well as Title IX proceedings at many New York City area universities, review Crotty Saland PC’s Title IX information page.

The New York Title IX Lawyers and former Manhattan prosecutors at Crotty Saland PC represent clients as both petitioners and respondents in Title IX college and university disciplinary investigations and hearings throughout the State of New York.

Updated: