Flaws in the Title IX Enforcement Narrative
In today’s society, opinions about Title IX enforcement remain divided, with many people on different sides of the spectrum highlighting numerous issues with the system. These issues cause substantial concerns for students, staff, parents, and society as a whole. Some of these concerns include the federal government’s micromanagement of college disciplinary proceedings, schools’ incompetence in handling such cases, and other related issues that continue to disadvantage both complainants and respondents.
Seeking Suggestions to Improve Adjudication Processes
In such a confusing time, institutions and the Department of Education have requested suggestions from the public on how to improve adjudication processes. As Attorney Todd Spodek and the Spodek Law Group have reported in an earlier blog post, some schools have taken matters into their own hands by making significant changes, such as outsourcing school investigations.
The Double Jeopardy Complaint Provision
One of the most contentious issues in Title IX processes today is the “double jeopardy” complaint provision, which exists in many colleges and universities across the country. This policy was put in place due to the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and requires all institutions that receive federal funding to develop procedures for both the accused and the victim to appeal the results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding. Title IX also enforces this policy, obliging universities that choose to provide a right of appeal in sexual assault cases to provide it for both the accuser and the accused.
Issues with the Double Jeopardy Policy
While this policy was proposed with the intention of maintaining equality, its application in college contexts has raised serious issues. In criminal trials, double jeopardy refers to a person’s constitutional right not to be tried more than once for the same criminal offense, as addressed in the Fifth Amendment. Many believe that this concept should extend to Title IX disciplinary proceedings, as it is unfair to continually revisit the same issues repeatedly. Giving an accuser the power to appeal an acquittal in a disciplinary proceeding after a “not responsible” verdict actually threatens the fundamental constitutional rights of students.
Injustices Pardoned by School Double Jeopardy Provisions
There are numerous injustices that have been pardoned by school double jeopardy provisions, which have had devastating effects on innocent students. The story of Keith Mumphery, a former Michigan State attendee and pro football receiver, best exemplifies the unwarranted and severe repercussions that these policies impose.
Keith Mumphery’s Case
In 2015, Mumphery had a female hookup partner on campus who accused him of sexual assault in her dorm room. Mumphery provided evidence to back his claims of innocence, and the police investigated the matter. Mumphery cooperated fully by turning over his phone and providing a DNA swab for further proof. The accuser did not return calls or participate in the process, so school officials declined to prosecute.
However, when Michigan State conducted a simultaneous Title IX investigation, the panel cleared him. The accuser then decided to appeal this finding, leading Michigan State to reopen the case. By this time, Mumphery had graduated and was playing professional football for the Houston Texans. He heard nothing of the appeal because he no longer checked his school email address. This time, the school concluded differently and found him responsible for relationship violence and sexual misconduct. News broke that he had been expelled for sexual assault.
Two days later, the Texans’ coach called him into the office and let him go. Despite being cleared twice, both criminally and through adjudication, Mumphery is still haunted by what should have been a closed case.
The Impact of Double Jeopardy Complaint Provisions
Mumphery’s story is not unique, and many innocent student respondents are forced to relive their allegations and be put back on trial due to double jeopardy complaint provisions in collegiate settings. This reality further proves what most critics of current Title IX adjudication systems believe: campus justice oftentimes isn’t actual justice.
Retain a Title IX Attorney for Legal Assistance
If you or someone you know has been accused of sexual misconduct, it is essential to seek legal representation. The Spodek Law Group, led by Attorney Todd Spodek, has the knowledge and experience needed to navigate the complexities of Title IX proceedings. As a nationally recognized Title IX attorney, Todd Spodek has the skill, experience, and expertise to help you preserve your entitled rights under Title IX and your school’s policy. Contact him online or call 212-300-5196 today for a case evaluation or more information about his representation.
In conclusion, the flaws in the Title IX enforcement narrative have created many issues in the system, and the double jeopardy complaint provision has become a particularly contentious topic. The provision, which requires both the accused and the victim to appeal the results of an institutional disciplinary proceeding, has been criticized for its application in college contexts, as it raises serious issues of fairness and constitutional rights. The Spodek Law Group, along with Attorney Todd Spodek, is committed to helping clients nationwide navigate Title IX proceedings and ensuring that their rights are protected.