College students must be mindful of the choices they make. Of course, wrongful conduct may constitute a criminal offense. Even if criminal charges are not filed, the college or university may initiate a student conduct investigation. These investigations may result in the student being reprimanded, placed on probation, suspended, or expelled from the college or university.
All colleges and universities are required by federal law to investigate sexual discrimination on campus. Within the definition of sexual discrimination is sexual assault. The specific federal law is known as Title IX of the Educational Amendments Acts of 1972. Title IX protects people from sexual discrimination in education programs or activities that receive federal funds. Specifically, Title IX states that "no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." Student Conduct matters go beyond the area of sexual misconduct and include conduct such as underage drinking, disorderly conduct, and cheating.
In response to Title IX, colleges and universities have developed Codes of Student Conduct that outline the procedure for how sexual misconduct complaints are investigated. Some central Ohio colleges and universities' Codes of Student Conduct include:
Student Conduct hearings are informal administrative hearings. Oftentimes, attorneys are not allowed to actively participate in the process, though they are allowed to be physically present and confer with the student. Although they are not as formal as court hearings in the judicial system for criminal offenses, the penalties can be just as damaging. A student may face reprimand, probation, suspension, or expulsion.
Even if the student is ultimately cleared of any wrongdoing, the damage to their reputation can have a lasting effect. It is important for students facing Student Conduct / Title IX Investigations to contact an attorney who can help them build their defense and respond to allegations.
Are you a student dealing with the stress of a Student Conduct / Title IX matter? Contact The Stavroff Law Firm today to learn about your rights and begin building your defense.