Title IX: The Collateral Consequences and What Students Need to Know
In 1972, the U.S. Department of Education implemented Title IX a civil rights amendment aimed at preventing sexually-based discrimination in all academic institutions. Its goal was to ensure that no one is hindered from participating in educational programs or treated unfairly based on their gender. To remain eligible for federal education funding, all schools must comply with these provisions. Title IX prohibits acts of sexual assault, gender discrimination, sexual harassment and more.
For students accused of Title IX violations, severe consequences await if the violation is proven. Suspension or expulsion from school may impact their academic records adversely and limit future employment opportunities, make it harder to get admitted into other schools, obtain professional licenses, etc. Those who find themselves in this situation should seek the assistance of an attorney who will advise and represent them throughout the disciplinary process.
Potential collateral consequences for students accused of Title IX violations come early in the disciplinary process when interim measures are put in place. No-contact orders are typical measures enacted under such circumstances; they prohibit communication between parties involved in a case. Students with such orders imposed against them may find themselves unable to participate in campus organizations or continue with athletic activity due to physical restrictions that may be part of such orders.
After a trial has been conducted under Title IX regulations, suspension or dismissal could become effective immediately once punishment has been decided upon by administrators running the institution concerned – robbing the student concerned of credits for current semesters he is enrolled for and money already spent on tuition fees, food and housing expenses. Also, those employed by the institution when sanctions were issued would likely lose their jobs as well as being stripped off merit scholarships or financial aid eligibility.
Worse still are annotations made permanently on a student’s academic record after fines/ suspensions/ expulsions; such notations typically remain there indefinitely but which could be detrimental during a search for future academic participation elsewhere. This information could also be used against the student by graduate school programs such as law and medicine that require self-disclosure of prior disciplinary infractions.
Recommendations of the Association for Student Conduct Administration and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers have been adopted by most academic institutions today, meaning disciplinary actions – such as suspension or dismissal – are documented on student transcripts to protect universities when they receive transfer applications in order to determine whether to admit affected students. However, FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), a federal initiative supporting maintaining privacy of student records makes specific exemptions under certain circumstances pertaining to discipline-related notations made at post-secondary institutions.
Institutions today often act with greater caution, taking measures meant to avoid reputational damage from incidents such as sexual harassment even if it means imposing disproportionate sanctions on accused students. An experienced attorney will prove invaluable in this situation, preparing opening or closing statements, responding confidently to posed questions and negotiating with administration officials to obtain favorable solutions.
Todd Spodek’s Law Firm offers legal representation that ensures effective advocacy while protecting clients’ rights during Title IX litigation matters who face harsh penalties resulting from allegations of misconduct. Get in touch with us for a consultation through our phone lines at (888) 535-3686.