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What Is the Title IX Amendment?

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law prohibiting sex discrimination in education programs and activities. Any educational institution that receives federal funding is subject to Title IX — it doesn’t only apply to college athletic programs as most people believe. As such, public and private colleges, occupational schools, trade schools, high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools that get federal financial assistance are subject to Title IX laws. With that being said, Title IX applies to every element of education, including:

  • Courses
  • Counseling services
  • Financial aid
  • Student health and insurance benefits
  • Housing
  • Physical education
  • Employment

Unfortunately, the freedom for anyone to file a complaint carries a high risk for the accused. Whether or not the allegations are true, alleged Title IX offenders must undergo investigations, disciplinary hearings, and, potentially, the criminal justice system. Those processes alone can tarnish an accused person’s or institution’s reputation and livelihood, which is why Title IX proceedings must be investigated and adjudicated fairly and in accordance with your due process rights.

If you are facing allegations in New York, our Title IX defense attorneys can protect your rights and defend your accusations while ensuring you receive a fair investigation and hearing. Contact us at 888-4-ZEN-LAW now!

Title IX Violations

Title IX complaints span a vast range of sex-based discrimination that goes beyond sexual harassment and assault, although, those types of allegations are among the most common. Generally, violations include:

Sexual harassment and/or assault:

  • Dating violence
  • Domestic violence
  • Attempted or completed rape
  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts
  • Stalking
  • Unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and offensive that it denies a person equal access to an education program or activity
  • Utilizing an educational benefit or service in exchange for another person’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (“quid pro quo” harassment)

Retaliation: This includes acts such as giving failing grades, barring students from participating in school activities, and threatening to suspend or expel anyone who uses their Title IX rights. Other examples of unlawful retaliation include:

  • Getting little to no playtime (for student-athletes)
  • Being held to higher, unfair standards than others
  • Getting demoted to lower employment, academic or athletic position

Hostile environment: Bullying and harassment create an unsafe environment for both students and school administrators to function in. A hostile environment can occur when discriminatory or sexual situations foster fear and intimidation. As a result, a person may be denied or limited in their ability to participate in or benefit from a program, activity, or job. Examples of actions that could foster a hostile environment include:

  • Slurs
  • Taunts/name-calling
  • Stereotypes
  • Gender-motivated physical threats and/or attacks
  • Gender-motivated physical attacks

Common Issues in Title IX Investigations

Our lawyers use a risk assessment approach, meaning we identify potential issues that could negatively affect your case and work to minimize them before they become an actual issue. From our experience, we’ve learned that Title IX proceedings are flawed, so much that they hinder both parties’ right to a fair trial. These flaws include:

Biased investigators: Although one might think a law enforcement officer investigates Title IX cases, the reality is that a university will hire an investigator to handle this step. As such, it can be difficult for a school-hired investigator to conduct an unbiased investigation. What if they discover that the university ― their employer ― was at fault? That means the funding for their employer is on the line, which could motivate the investigator to turn a blind eye to key details in a case.

Gathering evidence: Many universities and programs conduct Title IX investigations rapidly, leaving little time to hear all sides of the story. Many investigators are untrained in handling this process, especially when interviewing victims and witnesses who don’t feel comfortable sharing the full story. It doesn’t help that investigators get to choose what information is important and what is not, especially when they may be working in the best interests of their employer.

Interpreting evidence: Since Title IX investigators are essentially equivalent to judges and juries, they must act accordingly. This means investigators must thoroughly evaluate the evidence from an unbiased standpoint, ignoring their “gut feelings” and implicit biases every step of the way. However, they are humans and humans aren’t perfect, which could create unintended consequences for the accused.

With this in mind, our New York attorneys will work to leave no stone unturned in your Title IX case and ensure all parties are doing their part to maintain a fair and legal proceeding.

Defending Title IX Accusations throughout New York

Our attorneys understand that our clients’ jobs, education, reputations, and even freedoms are on the line amid a Title IX accusation, which is why our Title IX defense lawyers go the extra mile to ensure they receive fair and unbiased treatment at every stage of the process. We are deeply knowledgeable and experienced with the Title IX grievance process and will hold all parties accountable for doing their part to ensure a responsible and reliable outcome is reached.

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