What to Do if You Get a Title IX Complaint
Take the right fast action to protect your future and reputation
Many students accused of Title IX violations like sexual assault or sexual harassment don’t know anything is wrong until they get a Title IX Notice of Complaint or No-Contact Order from the school. However, even after receipt, it’s not always clear what the notice means or how to respond. If you have received one of these, you need to take immediate action to protect your rights and future. But how?
The consequences of a Title IX decision against you may include expulsion from school, loss of scholarships, and a ban from playing collegiate sports, as well as a damaged reputation. To help ensure you act in your best interest, contact Botsford & Roark for a free and confidential case evaluation. We have experience providing strong Title IX defense to those accused in Texas. A member of our team is available to hear the details of what happened, answer questions, and explain documents.
Why did I get a Title IX complaint and no contact order?
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that protects civil rights by prohibiting discrimination due to sex or gender in any federally funded education program or activity. Under Title IX, sexual harassment or violence is a form of gender discrimination and a civil rights offense. Specifically, a Title IX complaint may be due to:
- Accusations of rape or sexual assault
- Accusations of stalking or physical assault
- Accusations of sexual harassment
- Accusations of inappropriate retaliatory actions
- Accusations of creating a hostile environment
There are many other scenarios that could lead to a Title IX complaint. If a student feels that they are a victim of sexual assault or harassment and their Title IX rights have been violated, they can choose to make a formal complaint to the school. Every college or university that accepts federal money has a Title IX coordinator. Once they receive the complaint, the Title IX hearing process begins.
What is a Title IX complaint notice?
Once the complaint is on file, the respondent (the accused) and complainant are notified that a Title IX case involving them has been opened by the university or college. The notice, sometimes called a Notice of Allegations or NOA, will typically include the following information and more:
- Accusations against you
- Resources for mental and emotional support
- How Title IX was allegedly violated
- How accusations will be investigated
- Steps in the hearing process
- Potential resolutions
- Potential penalties or sanctions
- Your rights and responsibilities during the process
- Factors considered when deciding the case
What is a Title IX No Contact Order?
A Title IX No Contact Order, or NCO, aims to ensure distance between the complainant and the accused individual. Unfortunately, many people assume they can treat a Title IX no contact order the same as a protective, stay-away, or no-contact order that was issued by county court. However, the orders are significantly different.
An NCO from your college or university does not follow the same rules and guidelines as a criminal or civil court order. Therefore, the school sets the conditions of what “no contact” means. Frequently, these conditions overburden the accused. This is wrong. Under the law, people accused of Title IX violations have the right to be presumed innocent unless a fair, legal process decides otherwise.
Nevertheless, campuses are small places. To avoid contact with the accuser, someone with an NCO against them may be forced to stay away from certain classes, cafeterias, dorms, activities, and on-campus gatherings, among other events and places. Our Title IX defense attorneys can challenge unfair pre-hearing conditions and fight to protect your right to equal treatment during the process.
I got a notice, what should I do?
Avoid these 5 things after a Title IX accusation.
There’s a lot on the line for students accused of Title IX violations. You need to make smart decisions to put you in the best position for a favorable outcome. We can help. Here are 5 things not to do after receiving a Title IX notice or order:
- Do not engage in retaliation or harassment. Retaliation towards the accuser or any witnesses is absolutely unacceptable. These actions can have severe legal consequences and harm your case. It is crucial to maintain composure, treat all parties involved with respect, and refrain from any behaviors that could be perceived as intimidating, threatening, or harmful.
- Avoid discussing the case publicly or on social media. Public discussions or postings about the details of the case on social media can be detrimental to your defense. These discussions can potentially compromise the integrity of the investigation, violate privacy rights, and harm your reputation. It is vital to respect the confidentiality of the proceedings and allow the investigative process to unfold without public interference.
- Do not attempt to influence witnesses. It is crucial to avoid any actions that could be perceived as trying to manipulate or coerce witnesses into providing specific statements or altering their testimonies. Trust in the process and rely on our experienced Title IX defense lawyers to navigate the legal proceedings appropriately.
- Avoid making false statements or misrepresenting information. Providing false information or misrepresenting facts during the investigation or legal proceedings can significantly damage your credibility and legal standing. It is crucial to be truthful, transparent, and forthcoming when providing information or statements related to the case. We can guide you in effectively presenting your side of the story in a way that adheres to legal and ethical standards.
- Do not ignore or underestimate the charges. The stakes are high. Take the charges seriously, cooperate fully with the investigation, and actively participate in the legal proceedings. Failing to address the charges appropriately can lead to unfavorable outcomes, including disciplinary actions.
Consult an experienced Title IX defense lawyer right away
Remember, every Title IX case is unique. You need an experienced Title IX defense attorney who understands how the process works on campuses across the state as well as what to do should criminal charges arise.
Botsford & Roark can aggressively fight to protect your rights and social status. Our law firm has a reputation for handling high-profile cases with integrity and discretion. If you or your child has been accused of a Title IX violation in Texas, contact us for a free and confidential case evaluation. There is no obligation to hire, just information you can trust from a law firm with decades of Title IX defense experience in the Lone Star State.