March 24, 2023 | Title IX
Sexual misconduct is a major issue on college campuses, and all universities should have protocols in place to address these matters. But what happens when the incident occurs off campus? Does the school have any jurisdiction in that case?
In the past, universities were able to and obligated to investigate all reports of sexual misconduct that occurred off-campus and implement any appropriate punishments on the basis of Title IX protections. This could include suspension or expulsion from the college, as well as other consequences such as a transcript notation or loss of financial aid.
What Is Title IX?
Title IX prohibits discrimination based on gender in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. This includes grade schools, universities, colleges, trade schools, career centers, and vocational programs.
Title IX applies to:
- Admissions policies
- Access to courses and academic programs
- Financial aid
- The availability of fitness facilities
- The ability to participate in extracurricular activities and sports programs
- Student health services and counseling services
- Discipline practices
- Housing options
- Employment opportunities for faculty members or staff members
- Grading policies
- Scholarships or other forms of financial assistance
Universities have an obligation to protect all students and faculty from any sort of discrimination or violence which could impede their educational pursuits.
What Qualifies as an Off-Campus Incident?
When it comes to determining whether or not a university has Title IX jurisdiction over a sexual misconduct case, one of the first things to consider is whether the incident occurred on or off campus.
Generally speaking, an off-campus incident would be defined as one that does not involve any university-owned property. Fraternity houses or student apartments run by the university would likely not be considered off-campus for purposes of Title IX.
Changes to Title IX and Off-Campus Incidents
Recent changes to Title IX have drastically reduced protections for students and made it so that universities don’t have jurisdiction over sexual misconduct that occurs off-campus. This means that under Title IX, a university could not investigate an off-campus incident between two students.
Nonetheless, That Doesn’t Mean Universities Can’t Investigate Off-Campus Sexual Misconduct
Every university has its own code of conduct, which sets out standards for behavior both on campus and off campus. The exact language varies from one university to the next, but most codes include language that extends the reach of the code beyond campus boundaries.
For example, some universities state that students must not engage in any behavior “which constitutes a criminal or civil violation within or outside this institution” or “which interferes with the rights or safety of others or which adversely affects the educational process.”
These codes also often specify that violations may be addressed through administrative procedures regardless of whether legal proceedings are initiated against a student for such violations.
Therefore, universities still have the right to investigate and punish students for off-campus behavior.
How an Attorney Can Help Students Facing Disciplinary Proceedings
When faced with disciplinary proceedings at school, many people might assume that representing themselves is a good option because it isn’t a criminal issue. However, this is far from the truth.
Even if your case does not go to criminal court, consequences such as suspensions or expulsions are still possible in these types of proceedings, which will significantly impact the rest of your life.
These punishments will remain on your final transcripts, which must then be explained on every application you submit afterwards – including job applications if you have to provide your transcript.
Having an experienced attorney by your side can drastically reduce the consequences and help you maintain your reputation and keep your future prospects intact.
They can negotiate on behalf of their clients with school administrators or lawyers from other parties involved to ensure that their client’s rights are respected throughout the proceedings.
Having an attorney also gives students peace of mind knowing that someone is looking out for their best interests during this difficult time.
If you need help, don’t hesitate to contact Suhre & Associates, LLC, today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Lexington Title IX defense attorney.
Contact the Lexington Title IX Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507