Columbia University Title IX Equal Access Requirements
With the passage of a body of legislation in 1972 known as Title IX, the Federal Government made it a law that all educational institutions must provide equal access to people regardless of sex. It may be critical to contact a skilled Title IX attorney about your case in relation to the Columbia University Title IX equal access requirements.
In addition to providing equal facilities, educational opportunities, and housing options, schools are also required to establish a procedure for investigating and punishing allegations of sexual harassment that occur on their campuses. Columbia University is, of course, no exception. All students, staff, and faculty are required to adhere to the University’s policy concerning sexual harassment.
A person who is suspected of violating this policy will be subject to a Title IX investigation and hearing. The Columbia University Title IX equal access requirements are intended to educate people as to the basis for these hearings, their procedures, and what rights people have when they have been accused.Facing an Accusation Under Title IX
In accordance with the federal law requiring it, Columbia University has published their policy regarding sexual harassment. The full body of the text can be found here.
The policy specifically defines harassment as any unwelcome contact or conduct that creates an intimidating or hostile environment. This can include verbal abuse, slurs, threats, denigrating jokes, and the display of offensive material.The harassment is classified as sexual when a person makes unwelcome sexual advances or contact, requests sexual favors, or demands a sex act in exchange for a benefit of any sort.
An allegation of any one of these activities will trigger a Title IX investigation. In addition, severe allegations may also involve a criminal investigation by the local police department.Investigation and Hearing Process
The investigation begins when a member of the school community files a complaint. This complaint is then sent to a designated investigator who will:
- Interview the Complainant
- Interview the Respondent
- Interview any other witnesses to the allegations
- Review personnel records and any other documentation relevant to the accusation
In addition, both the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to suggest any witnesses that they wish for the interviewer to speak with. However, these witnesses cannot be called merely to testify as to a person’s quality of character. During this process, the complainant has the right to be accompanied by an advisor during their interviews. However, the rights to an advisor for a Respondent who is a student are limited.
Employee respondents maintain the right to have full representation in situations where the Complainant has requested help, but in no situation, will an advisor be allowed to speak on behalf of the individual. Attorneys can be helpful in aiding student respondents in drafting any statement that they wish to submit to the investigator and in educating them on what to expect during these hearings.Potential Outcomes of a Title IX Hearing
There are two main branches of potential outcomes in these investigations. The investigator and disciplinary officer may decide that there is insufficient evidence to support the claim. In these situations, the claim is dismissed. If there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing, the investigator may suggest a mediation session in cases where allegations are relatively minor, or may mete out direct punishments to the Respondent. These may include:
- An official reprimand or warning
- Being placed on probation
- Restricted access to University facilities
- A no-contact order
As we can see from these potential outcomes, it is extremely important for respondents in these cases to defend themselves as powerfully as possible. This includes submitting solid, logical statements and being fully prepared to attend all interview sessions.
Title IX attorneys help respondents to prepare for hearings for Columbia University Title IX equal access requirements to improve their chances of defending their right to an education and their reputations.
Call our New York Title IX attorneys at (212) 312-7129 or contact us online today.