At Spodek Law Group, we understand the importance of maintaining a safe and inclusive campus environment at institutions of higher learning. That’s why we’re proud to discuss the crucial role of Stony Brook University’s Center for Prevention and Outreach in addressing the issues of substance abuse, mental health, and sexual and interpersonal violence.
The administrators responsible for Title IX compliance and enforcement are found within this organization. They work tirelessly to eliminate discrimination based on “sex, gender, and/or gender identity” through the effective implementation of Title IX policies and procedures. This includes enforcing Title IX provisions among students, faculty, staff, vendors, and more. At Stony Brook University, employees are mandated to report any incidents of sexual violence to Title IX Administrators, demonstrating the University’s commitment to protecting its community from harm.
As a law firm that operates nationwide, we know that schools must adhere to certain key responsibilities outlined by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). These responsibilities include fostering an environment free from hostility and various forms of sexually-based harassment, responding to potential violations in a timely fashion, and enforcing rules related to gender-based violence and sexual misconduct through penalties and other remedies.
At Spodek Law Group, we understand that students have the right to fair and impartial treatment, as well as access to services such as health care and counseling. It’s essential to file a report with law enforcement agencies if necessary and ensure that all reports of sexual violence or discrimination are taken seriously by the institution. Additionally, students have the right to protection from retaliation, the right to appeal, and more.
The University has the ability to use interim measures involving parties in the investigative and disciplinary process. These measures include a “no-contact” directive, which prohibits the parties from communicating or intentionally encountering one another. An interim suspension may also be employed when the administration deems it to be in the best interest of safety. Other measures include adjusting student class schedules or relocating those in University housing.
The disciplinary process states that alleged acts of misconduct must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence standard, meaning that the violation “more likely than not” did occur. At Spodek Law Group, we know that this can be a challenging standard to meet, but we have experience in handling cases involving sexual and interpersonal violence.
The University has options for resolving matters through alternative means such as mediation. In these instances, the parties must voluntarily choose to meet with a mediator to resolve conflicts. These methods are generally deemed inappropriate for allegations of more serious violent action. Parties may be accompanied by one advisor of their choice to disciplinary hearings and to assist with drafting any written statements. An experienced attorney is likely to make sure you are adequately prepared with a comprehensive defense strategy and will be able to advocate on a client’s behalf in prospective negotiations with the school.
These disciplinary matters are heard by a Hearing Board that is composed of between three and five members. The Board must be composed of a minimum of one faculty member and one student. They are tasked with issuing a ruling and potentially imposing sanctions. All evidence that the parties will be presenting during the hearing must be shared with the opposing party at a minimum of two days in advance. University officials may deem the information submitted as inadmissible. Witnesses are able to be questioned.
There are a host of potential sanctions that may be imposed, including a written warning, monetary restitution, restrictions on participation in university events and organizations, physical restrictions from visiting certain campus areas, a period of disciplinary probation, mandatory attendance at substance abuse or counseling programs, suspension from residing in University housing, and even expulsion. Students must file their intention to appeal within seven days after a ruling.
At Spodek Law Group, we believe that students facing Title IX violations should seek legal representation to ensure that they are adequately prepared for a hearing and to respond to allegations. It’s essential to understand that the sanctions imposed by the institution’s disciplinary process can be severe and can have long-lasting effects on a student’s future. This process is distinct from any potential criminal charges that may also be brought by local authorities.
It’s important to note that administrators managing campus disciplinary matters may have many other responsibilities and operate with minimal regard for the rights of the accused. That’s where Spodek Law Group comes in. Our experienced attorneys, including Attorney Todd Spodek, have spent years assisting students facing Title IX violations and other areas of campus disciplinary action. We provide highly effective representation to ensure that our clients are well-prepared for a hearing and ready to respond to allegations.
If you’re a student facing Title IX violations at Stony Brook University or any other institution of higher learning, contact Spodek Law Group today. We’re here to help you understand your rights and provide you with the guidance and support you need to protect your future.