College Title IX lawyers and student misconduct attorneys representing clients in cases alleging gender-based misconduct and dating violence accusations know firsthand how the system is not one founded in due process. Simply, university violations, from NYU and Columbia to Pace and Fordham, not only lack the checks and balances taken for granted in the criminal justice system but are enforced by university administrators often lacking the investigative experience necessary to pursue the right leads and effectively parse through the evidence. Couple these factors with a legal threshold that is not beyond a reasonable doubt but a preponderance of the evidence, the subject of an accusation is often left without the tools and recourse necessary to defend him or herself. Fortunately, for a client falsely accused of a horrific rape that morphed into claims she was a monster-like stalker and manipulative predator, after a five month long investigation and ultimate adjudication, the college exonerate our client. Only slightly less gratifying, the college found that the accuser was in fact the abuser leading to a responsible finding and multi-year hold on her diploma post-graduation.
When, as a college student, you are accused of violating a Title IX policy or the Code of Conduct of your respective university, both your academic career and otherwise clean criminal record are often put in harm’s way. Whether or not you are arrested by the NYPD or local police department, accused of a crime or allegedly committed a form of sexual or gender-based misconduct or harassment, the consequences are quite real even if your case never reaches a technical disciplinary hearing. What is not real, however, is that every claim of wrongdoing is true and accurate. While the legal standard employed by Title IX Coordinators, the Dean of Students, or any administrative body at a New York City or New York State college or university is a preponderance of the evidence – quite lower than the criminal threshold of proof beyond a reasonable doubt and devoid of the due process rights we all take for granted – that does not mean you cannot successfully challenge a complaint. In fact, having successfully represented student accusers and the accused in college Title IX, Student Misconduct Hearings, Disciplinary Hearings and other infractions at universities such as NYU, Fordham, CUNY, SUNY Binghamton, Columbia and others, Crotty Saland PC’s Title IX counsel recognize there are strategic avenues to pursue should you find yourself on either side of the law. In fact, a recent and successful resolution of multiple alleged Title IX violations against a student at a large New York City university is a testament to the advocacy of Crotty Saland PC’s Title IX attorneys.
A routine question by students at Columbia University is what is the university’s gender-based misconduct policy and how does it relate to Title IX? A very broad question involving many answers, the first step in understanding Columbia University’s gender-based misconduct policy and procedures for students, whether one is enrolled at Columbia, Barnard College or Teachers College, is to first identify what constitutes prohibited conduct.
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.