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Process of a Washington DC Title IX Investigation

While Title IX investigation proceedings vary from one college or university to the next, they do share many characteristics on most college campuses. However, the outcome of any Title IX investigation might result in harsh consequences for a person’s future. As a result, you owe it to yourself to familiarize yourself with the process of a Washington DC Title IX investigation if you have been accused of an offense.

If others have accused you of Title IX policy violations, you will soon discover that you might have fewer rights in terms of procedural and evidentiary protections. As a result, even weak evidence might form the basis for findings of misconduct against you. However, a seasoned lawyer may be able to protect your rights throughout the investigative process and place you in the best position available to fight back against the alleged violations.

The Title IX Investigative Process

When individuals make complaints against someone that implicates Title IX, the Title IX coordinator for the school typically will notify the accused of the nature of the charge to be investigated. This notice also will contain the sections of the university policy that they allegedly have violated and outline their rights during the Washington DC Title IX investigation process.

Next, the investigator assigned to the complaint will gather evidence related to the investigation. Evidence may consist of:

  • Interviews with all parties involved and any witnesses
  • Text messages, emails, and other correspondence
  • Social media posts, comments, and messages
  • Video and audio recordings

Typically, the respondent (the person being accused) will not have an opportunity to review the evidence gathered by the investigator until the end of the investigation. At that point, the respondent may have an opportunity to provide additional witness information or evidence.  The respondent may also be asked to sit for additional questioning by the investigator.

Fact-Finding and the Burden of Proof in Title IX Investigations

Once the investigator has collected all relevant evidence, including the responses of the parties to the existing evidence, a separate body (often a panel of faculty, administrators, and/or students) will analyze the evidence to determine whether there is enough proof to find the respondent in violation of the school’s code of conduct. Most schools in DC use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, which evaluates whether it is “more likely than not” that the complained-of misconduct occurred. The panel then issues a formal report that summarizes the evidence, relates the findings of the investigator, draws their conclusions as to whether the respondent violated the student code, and determines what, if any, sanction to impose.

Based on the formal investigation report, the Title IX office then notifies all parties involved of the outcome of the investigation. This notification also outlines the next steps in the Title IX investigation process in Washington DC.

Appealing a Finding of Misconduct

If either party does not accept or agree with the findings of the investigator, then they typically have the right to appeal the results. Most schools permit both the respondent and petitioner to appeal a result based on newly discovered evidence, procedural violations, or excessive/insufficient sanctions. Only in the case of newly discovered evidence would a school potentially convene a new investigator or panel to decide whether to accept the new evidence and determine whether it should change the outcome of the hearing.

Get Advice About the Washington DC Title IX Investigation Process

Although the details, timeframes, and exact procedures may vary somewhat, this description of the process of a Washington DC Title IX investigation is representative of many college and university proceedings. Individuals may wish to further examine the handbooks and policies of their universities or colleges to familiarize themselves with the exact timeline and nature of how their university works.

Furthermore, if you have been accused of an offense, having legal guidance throughout all stages of the Title IX investigative process might be crucial to clearing your name and avoiding the potentially devastating academic sanctions that you may face. Moreover, legal counsel may be able to assist you in avoiding any admissions that might prejudice your interests in any resulting criminal prosecution stemming from the incident. Call today.

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