Protecting Due Process in Title IX
Spodek Law Group and Attorney Todd Spodek Fight for the Rights of the Accused
In April 2011, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the Department of Education (DOE) issued a new Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) that established procedures for institutions to follow in order to comply with Title IX, the federal statute that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Schools are now required to establish a Title IX coordinator, distribute policies regarding sexual harassment, train staff and students in sexual harassment and violence issues, and establish an investigation procedure and an adjudication process.
However, some argue that the letter’s wording impairs the due process rights of students accused of sexual harassment and violence, calling into question the basic fairness of disciplinary proceedings. In their efforts to comply with Title IX and to avoid suspension of federal funding, schools may rush to find the accused guilty without regard for the accused student’s fundamental rights.
Protecting the Accused Student’s Fundamental Due Process Rights
Since the issuance of the DCL, numerous lawmakers, law professors, and others have called for colleges to restore due process in the adjudication of sexual assault cases. In January 2016, the Independent Women’s Forum released a policy paper titled “Title IX and Freedom of Speech on College Campuses,” which decried how adhering to “basic concepts of due process and innocence until proven guilty” could be considered a violation of Title IX.
Both Democratic candidate Senator Bernie Sanders and Republican candidate Senator Marco Rubio have called for greater protection of due process rights in campus sexual assault cases. In October 2015, California governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have established a mandatory minimum punishment for students found responsible for rape or sexual assault, stressing the need for “clear standards of process.”
Even 28 Harvard law professors issued a statement in 2014, protesting new university-wide procedures for adjudicating accusations of sexual harassment and sexual violence. They argued that the procedures lacked basic elements of fairness and due process and were overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.
The Importance of an Experienced Due Process Lawyer
There are deep and long-lasting impacts on those wrongly accused of sexual assault who are denied fair and equitable treatment by their colleges in investigating and adjudicating alleged sexual misconduct. If you or someone you know is wrongfully accused, it is imperative that you speak to an attorney who is familiar with Title IX and the lack of due process afforded to the accused as soon as possible.
At Spodek Law Group, Attorney Todd Spodek and his team of highly experienced Title IX and Conduct Code attorneys have a deep understanding of the law and are available to review your case on an immediate basis in order to protect your rights. Call Spodek Law Group today at 888-977-6335 to schedule a consultation.
|Lawmakers and Law Professors Requesting Due Process Protections|