Rights During a College Park Title IX Investigation
Students accused of violating Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 have certain rights to protect them during the course of an investigation. Many of these rights stem from provisions of the Act itself as well as subsequent federal regulations.
Additionally, student rights during a College Park Title IX investigation are also protected by state laws and the policies and procedures of the College Park university. Because rights during a Title IX investigation are derived from so many sources, a full list would be difficult to compile. Some universal rights are described below, but an experienced defense attorney could give a more complete picture of the rights applicable to an individual case.
The Right to Due Process
Because College Park is a public university, students accused of Title IX violations have a fundamental right to due process during the investigation. While the actual specific guarantees of due process are often dependent on the particulars of a situation, in general, the due process rights granted to a student during an administrative proceeding include several basic provisions.
These include the right to receive notice of the proposed action against them along with the reasons for such action. Students also have the right to present their reasons why the school should not take the proposed action against them. This is sometimes referred to as “the right to be heard.”
Right to Prompt and Impartial Proceedings
Many rights during a College Park Title IX investigation apply equally to parties making accusations as well as those contesting the accusation. Federal regulations under 34 C.F.R. §66.846(k) require an academic institution to establish disciplinary procedures that include a “prompt, fair, and impartial process from the initial investigation to the final result.” As part of this process, schools are required to provide proper training to the administrators handling the investigation and hearing process.
This provision also requires the University to provide certain equal rights and opportunities to both the party accusing a student of wrongdoing and the student accused of wrongdoing. For instance, both parties are supposed to have the same “timely and equal access” to information used in formal and informal disciplinary proceedings.
In addition, school procedures should afford both parties the same right to have an attorney or other advisor present during meetings or other disciplinary proceedings. This regulation does not require schools to allow students to be represented by an attorney; it merely requires that whatever opportunity is afforded to the accusing student must also be available to the student facing accusations.
The Right to Keep Disciplinary Records Private
All students involved in a College Park Title IX disciplinary investigation have rights to protect their privacy. Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the university is prohibited from releasing information in a student’s education record, including disciplinary information, without the student’s consent. However, the right to privacy is not without limitations.
For instance, the U.S. Department of Education has stated in guidelines that FERPA may not prohibit the release of information to the accusing party in a Title IX case if the information directly involves the accusing party or if the incident alleged involves a sex crime or violent crime.
Find Out More About College Park Title IX Investigation Rights
Federal laws require the University to furnish students with access to disciplinary policies and procedures. These policies provide additional rights applicable in different situations.
Like other colleges across the country, the College Park university must engage in a balancing act. While it is important to address allegations of sexual misconduct that violates Title IX, the university must also protect the rights of students accused of those violations. Students seeking more information about their rights during a College Park Title IX investigation are advised to consult an attorney with experience advising students during Title IX proceedings.