What is the time frame for resolution of a sexual misconduct case in the student disciplinary process?

What is the time frame for resolution of a sexual misconduct case in the student disciplinary process?

The Timeframe for Resolution of a Title IX Sexual Misconduct Case

When it comes to the resolution of a Title IX sexual misconduct case, the timeframe will vary depending on the school involved. Some schools have instituted a 60-day timeframe for such cases, with others using a lesser period of time or even a greater one. However, prior to September 2016 – when it was more or less a mandate from the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights that investigations had to be completed within 60 days – many schools often went beyond that timeframe.

There are various reasons why some cases can last longer than expected, even more than a year. While this may be considered an exception rather than the rule, it happens due to various issues ranging from school breaks to case complexity. Now with new guidance from the Department of Education available for schools to follow, they are recommended certain timeframes but there’s no hard line in terms of what needs to happen exactly.

No More Rushed Judgments

Therefore, it is no longer appropriate to consider 60 days as too long or too short since each school is generally bound by its own policies. However, if there is good cause or reason to go beyond that timeframe as determined by the institution’s policies and procedures, schools would often do so. It’s important for students involved in disciplinary proceedings and their families to know that an experienced attorney advisor can help navigate the process.

New Timeframe Expectations

In general terms though, new guidance from the US Department of Education has issued recommendations regarding resolution timelines at postsecondary institutions. The 2020 Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment Prevention and Response, instructs universities and colleges on how they should prevent harassment; respond promptly and effectively when harassment occurs; and address its effects and consequences. The guidance also strongly encourages educational institutions to outline the internal procedures for handling such cases and ensure that all parties involved are aware of it.

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School Timeframe
Stanford University 90 days, plus an additional grace period of up to two weeks as needed per case.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 65 business days from when the complainant first files a formal complaint, which may be extended based on mutual consent by the parties or due to circumstances involving breaks between semesters or other administrative or academic reasons.
Arizona State University (ASU) 125 calendar days, but can be extended if deemed necessary by ASUs Title IX Coordinator on a case-by-case basis.

Conclusion

The timeframe for resolution of a Title IX sexual misconduct case tends to vary greatly from school to school. While some schools have instituted timelines lasting anywhere between six and eight weeks, others may take over six months. Regardless of the specific timeline, it’s important for students and families to trust expert attorney advisors in navigating the process to a successful outcome.

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