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Thursday, Sep. 23rd 2021

NEWEST GUIDANCE REGARDING UNIVERSITY TITLE IX MISCONDUCT HEARINGS

In 2020, the federal Department of Education amended the regulations implementing Title IX, providing more procedural protections for university students facing Title IX misconduct hearings.  These new regulations established baseline procedural protections for university students named as respondents in Title IX misconduct hearings and proceedings.  Among the changes were a guaranteed right to an advisor, including an attorney at the respondent student’s expense, who cross-examines witnesses at Title IX misconduct hearings, as well as requiring the university to clearly set forth what standard of proof applies to Title IX misconduct hearings and proceedings, i.e., a preponderance of the evidence standard or a clear-and-convincing standard, and for that standard to be uniform in all Title IX misconduct hearings at the university.

With the Biden Administration taking office in January 2021, the 2020 Title IX Amendments are under review and possibly subject to revision.  The possible further amendment to the Title IX regulations and Department of Education guidance could weaken or eliminate the procedural protections under the 2020 Title Amendments which have been afforded to student respondents facing Title IX misconduct hearings. Those possible changes have been telegraphed by the Biden Administration in a March 2021 Executive Order and a “Q&A” guidance document issued by the Department of Education in July 2021.

For the moment, the 2020 Amendments remain in place, which, again, expressly require a university to permit a respondent student to have an attorney present at the student’s Title IX misconduct hearing and expressly permit that attorney to cross-examine witnesses at the hearing.  Each school’s procedures may be unique, so long as the procedures are in alignment with the federal Title IX regulations.  Those procedures, and the entire Title IX misconduct hearing and investigation process, can be bewildering and overwhelming for university students named as respondents.  The importance of experienced counsel assisting the respondent student in such a situation cannot be overstated.

If you are a university student facing a Title IX misconduct hearing or investigation, please contact our firm for a free consultation regarding your situation, at cac@studentrightslawyers.com or ad@studentrightslawyers.com.  

This post is not intended as legal advice and should not be construed as same.


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