Protecting Students’ Rights: Responding to Sexual Misconduct at URI
At the University of Rhode Island (URI), the safety, well-being, and rights of everyone in the community are of paramount importance. The university strives to promote a healthy, vibrant campus environment where gender inequality and sexual violence are not tolerated. All forms of discrimination based on protected characteristics and all sexual misconduct are strictly prohibited.
If any member of the URI community is accused of sexual harassment or related misconduct, university administrators will conduct thorough investigations and follow adjudication procedures according to Title IX regulations. An allegation of this kind should be taken extremely seriously.
However, if you or someone you know has been accused of sexual harassment at URI, we at Spodek Law Group can defend your rights and interests during this difficult experience. Here’s what you need to know about sexual misconduct allegations at URI, including Title IX policies that set standards for handling such situations.
URI Policies on Sexual Misconduct
URI follows three documents that set out its policy on discriminatory acts and acts of sexual assault on campus:
– Student Handbook’s section on Gender and Sexual-Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence & Dating Violence
– Procedures for Policy on Sexual Misconduct (the university’s Title IX policy)
– Council on Postsecondary Education’s (RI Board of Higher Education) policy on Sexual Harassment & Sexual Violence
The Student Conduct System described in the Student Handbook also brings any such violations under its authority.
The last two documents define what constitutes sexual misconduct under URI policy. While these definitions differ slightly between them, they broadly include behaviors such as stalking; dating or domestic violence; retaliation; sexual harassment (as described by both URI’s student handbook and RI Board of Higher Education); as well as various kinds of sexual assault.
URI Title IX Grievance Process
Alleged incidents involving sexual harassment subjected to Title IX adjudication at URI would proceed through five stages:
Filing a Complaint
The Title IX Coordinator receives complaints of any violations related to sexual harassment or gender inequality on behalf of members of the URI community who deem themselves victims of such behavior. In some cases, however, the Title IX Coordinator may seek out other sources for filing.
The institution then initiates an investigative process against the accused based on the claims made by the complainant. An investigator will question witnesses and gather evidence to support their findings. After being finalized, both parties are allowed to review this report before they move on to the next stage.
A hearing panel is assembled after the Title IX Coordinator has reviewed and accepted the investigation report submitted by an investigator. Parties have a chance to make statements and respond to panel questions at this stage as well as cross-examine witnesses and submit evidence. They can also request informal resolution before proceeding with formal adjudication.
Decision / Sanctions
Once hearing panels conclude deliberations, they categorize charges brought against accused parties into those that pertain to sexual misconduct issues under Title IX regulations versus standard Student Code violations pursuant to other types of alleged misconduct. Sanctions range in severity from written reprimands through suspension or expulsion from full or partial probation as well as mandatory training or counseling.
Both parties may indeed appeal after receiving sanctions handed down by hearing panels. There’s a seven-day business window provided where each side can file a written appeal with the university’s appellate board which renders last judgment.
Consequences of Sexual Misconduct Violations at URI
If found responsible for a harmful act concerning sexual harassment at URI, you could face much more severe punishments than merely verbal or written warnings. The vast range of discipline options includes physical restrictions (banning access to university property), contract cancellations or forced monitoring arrangements,
You Need A Good Defense Counsel
If you find yourself accused of gender or sexual-based malfeasance while at URI, you are likely to feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to navigate the formal disciplinary proceedings. Fortunately, there is no need for you to go through this process alone, nor should those unfamiliar with these regulations try to do it all themselves.
During Title IX proceedings, URI allows you to select your advisor. Still, they can assist in all aspects beyond your direct dealings with campus administration members. Defense Counselors from Spodek Law Group help individuals navigate sexual harassment allegations at their universities across the country. They can offer advice on how best to coach responses, gather evidence and track down witnesses during or outside of formal meetings. Frankly, legal advisors will be an asset in many areas while guiding how you handle informal discussions with university staff about this significant issue that could affect your future personally and professionally. Call 212-300-5196 today for assistance!