Title IX Lawyers in Rochester, NY
Sexual assault allegations on college campuses committed between students are on the rise. These allegations are referred to as Title IX violations. Allegations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or dating violence on university or college campuses are extremely serious.
King Law is comprised of attorneys who are dedicated to protecting the rights of students accused of Title IX violations on college campuses. Our attorneys, all former prosecutors, represent those accused of on and off-campus violations such as sexual assault, sexual harassment, and dating violence.
We have defended students from the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, St. John Fisher College, Monroe Community College, SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Oswego, and others.
On this page:
New Title IX Regulations – February 2024
Discussions are ongoing within the Biden-Harris administration regarding proposed amendments to Title IX regulations. Listed below are the most recent regulation and amendment updates that the administration has proposed in efforts to strengthen the protections for alleged victims of Title IX.
February 15, 2024: Title IX Rule Changes Most Likely Postponed Until Summer Due to Review Process
New title IX rule changes are likely to be delayed until summer of this year. The Biden-Harris administration has worked for several years to change how sexual assault allegations are being handled by colleges and universities. The administration is continuing to say that Title IX rule changes could be ready as soon as March. The technical approval process however allows for comments and meetings at the United States Office of Budget and Management. Once the office of Budget and Management receive the draft they will meet and receive comment. There will be 120 days to complete the process and will likely take more time to release their findings. When Title IX rules were changed previously, the Office of Budget and Management took the full time period. Therefore, it appears that new regulations are more likely this summer than in March. It is expected that new regulations will give colleges more flexibility as to how hearings are conducted. Some lawyers are against new rule changes that would reduce due process for the accused in Title IX cases.
January 13, 2024: The value of an experienced Title IX attorney
There is no doubt that a Title IX accusation can have a lasting, if not permanent impact on the lives of the accused and their loved ones. It is not a stretch to believe that the accused is at risk of losing their education, their careers, and loss of relationships with friends and family. In a moment of reflection, it is sometimes a worthwhile exercise to look back at the successes we have had in defending students accused of Title IX violations. Those students whom we have helped in the last four years include a successful engineer, a student in a highly sought after PhD program, a teacher, a student continuing their Biomedical Engineering studies in addition to their commitment to being an ROTC Cadet, an owner of a financial company, and a student in a medical Master’s program focusing on cardiovascular surgery. With our tenacious advocacy, each of these students was able to continue their studies and obtain careers, despite the allegations that set out to jeopardize all of their hard work and accomplishments.
January 3, 2024
Amended Title IX regulations are scheduled to be released in March 2024. Although these amendments have been discussed for the past year, it has been announced that they will be released in two months.
The month of October has come and went and the U.S. Department of Education has not yet approved the amended Title IX regulations. While these amendments were originally slated to take effect May, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education announced that they would be postponed until October 2023. As of this moment, a new date has not been announced. This pending announcement is of paramount importance to college students accused of sexual assault as the new amendments are anticipated to greatly increase the protections for the alleged victims of sexual assault.
On the national level, it is has been widely discussed that the US Department of Education has proposed amendments to the Title IX regulations. These amendments are said to strengthen the rights of alleged victims during the Title IX process. The proposed amendments include not requiring a live hearing and removing the requirement for cross-examination by the parties. These amendments will inevitably jeopardize the rights of the accused. The proposed amendments have been pushed back, but are expected to be announced this month.
What is Title IX in Rochester NY?
Title IX is a federal law that prohibits gender-related bias within educational institutions such as colleges and universities. Title IX is widely known as the law requiring equality between male and female athletes. Recently, however, colleges have increased efforts to raise awareness amongst students of Title IX as it relates to sexual harassment and sexual assault, making students more aware of their right to report violations. For instance, colleges such as the University of Rochester require all first-year undergraduate and graduate students to take training. The Title IX course focused on awareness and training has led to an increase in the filing of accusations – and consequently the filing of false allegations. One local Rochester college who publishes annual statistics regarding their Title IX complaints saw an increase from 118 total complaints in 2019 to 193 total complaints in 2022.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
The provisions of Title IX are federal law and are found in Title IX of the Educations Amendments of 1972. The intention of Title IX is to protect students from discrimination based upon their gender and the law applies to all colleges and universities who receive any federal funding from the government – which is most colleges and universities. The law protects students from being harassed, assaulted, or in any other way treated differently based upon their sex. Title IX thus is meant to protect students from sexual assault, sexual harassment, and dating violence.
What Would Be a Violation of Title IX in Rochester Schools?
Title IX violations can include sexual harassment, sexual assault, and dating/domestic violence involving students and/or employees of the educational institution.
Title IX Violation Examples:
- Verbal arguments between students in a dating relationship;
- Physical confrontations between students in a dating relationship;
- Stalking by repeatedly following another student, appearing in places that the other student is, or repeatedly attempting to communicate with another student;
- Demeaning or degrading another student on the basis of their gender or sexual orientation;
- Having nonconsensual sexual contact with another individual;
- Retaliation against another student for filing a Title IX complaint.
Most allegations contained within Title IX complaints involve dating violence or nonconsensual sexual contact. But what does it mean to consent? Consent is often mistaken as verbal consent alone. However, consent is not limited to verbal consent and includes nonverbal consent or actions such as body language or behavior which lead you to believe the other person is comfortable with the sexual contact.
Common Title IX Cases in Rochester, NY
The most common Title IX case we see in Rochester involves allegations of a student having nonconsensual sexual contact with another student. This can, but does not have to be, sexual intercourse. The majority of cases we encounter involve some form of sexual assault, which includes inappropriate touching. We have also defended students accused of stalking, and dating violence. When the claim involves sexual assault, it more often than not involves some level of alcohol intoxication or impairment by drugs.
What To Do if Accused of Title IX Violation
The first thing that a student may hear when they are accused of a Title IX violation may be from a simple email received from the college, called a Notice of Allegations. Here is a step by step process that you should take if you receive this email.
- The Accusation: The first step is the hardest, don’t panic. Understand that this email is only an accusation. Much like in a criminal case, you are presumed not responsible for these allegations. Unfortunately however, you are not afforded the same rights as a defendant in a criminal case.
- Contact a Title IX Attorney: That is why the second step is contacting an experienced Title IX attorney. Title IX cases have significant procedural steps that must be taken and that the accused student must be prepared for.
- Talk to Your Lawyer: Once you hire an attorney, meet with them to ensure that they fully understand the allegations and so that they can explain the full Title IX process to you.
- Prepare for your interview. Once you are accused, the first step in the process is providing a statement to the college. It is important to prepare for this step so that you understand what questions may be asked of you and what information that you have may be helpful. Having an attorney serve as your advisor is also important because in most cases, what you are accused of can also be considered a crime.
- Collect evidence and locate witnesses. It is important to collect your own evidence. This can be anything from photographs, text messages, social media posts, phone records, and surveillance video to name a few. You should also tell your advisor who may be witnesses to the allegations. These don’t have to be individuals who were present when the allegations took place, and most of the time are not. Rather, who was with you before and who was with you after. The evidence you collect and the witnesses you provide will be turned over to the college who is conducting the investigation.
- Prepare an Appeal. Whether you are found responsible or not responsible, both parties have the right to file an Appeal of the Hearing Board’s determination. This is not a “re-do” of the hearing and there are only limited grounds for an appeal.
Title IX Investigation Timeline in Rochester, NY
Colleges aim to have these matters completed in a timely manner. There is no hard and fast rule as to how long an investigation should take. We have seen however that some cases can take up to 9 months. Every investigation is different and each individual timeline can depend on factors such as how many witnesses there are, the availability of witnesses, and any unforeseen delays in the hearing process.
Every Title IX investigation begins with the college sending the accused student a “Notice of Allegations.” This is oftentimes the very first instance that a college student becomes aware of the accusation. Additionally, there is no “statute of limitations” on the filing of a Title IX claim. You can be accused of a Title IX violation as a senior for something that is alleged to have taken place during your freshman year. After receiving this initial notice of the investigation, the college will ask the student to schedule a interview regarding the allegations. Sometimes, a college will minimise this interview, or simply call it a ‘meeting.’ This interview however, is probably the most critical part of every investigation. Every student must be prepared for this interview and be accompanied by an experienced Title IX attorney.
After the initial interview, the college will conduct an investigation. This investigation will include speaking to any witnesses, collecting evidence, and potentially re-interviewing the parties if new information is received. Accused students must work with their advisor during this time to gather their own evidence – photographs, text messages, social media posts are just a few examples. The student should also prepare a list of potential witnesses that were present not only during the allegation, but before and after as well.
When the investigation is complete, the Title IX investigator prepare an official report of their investigation, sometimes referred to as the Final Investigation Report. This will include all witness statements and evidence collected during the investigation. Each student will have ten days to review this report to request any changes to it.
When the investigation is complete and the Final Investigative Report is finalized and reviewed by the students, a live hearing will take place. During the hearing, each student has the option of preparing an opening statement. Each party and other witnesses who participate will be subject to questioning by the hearing officers and cross-examination by the other party’s advisor. After the hearing, the hearing board will issue a written decision finding the accused student either responsible or not responsible for the allegations. The burden of proof is far lower than that of a criminal case and to be found responsible, the hearing officers need only to beleive the allegations by a “preponderance of the evidence.”
After the decision is rendered, each student will have a limited opportunity to appeal the decision. If a student is found responsbile, a sanction will be imposed. There are a variety of potential sanctions that may include:
- Training and Education
If a student is suspended or expelled, a notation will be placed on their transcript indicating that they were found responsible for a violation of the policy.
How to File a Title IX Complaint
A Title IX Complaint can be filed by any student who believes that the rights afforded to them were violated by another member of the college community – student, staff, or faculty. Although less likely, Title IX Complaints can also be filed by individuals who believe they’ve witnessed a Title IX violation. It is rather easy to file a Title IX Complaint and can be filed online through an electronic submission to the college. No proof is required to file a Title IX Complaint. Anyone can file a Title IX Complaint and summarize what they allege happened to them. Once a Title IX Complaint is filed, the college will meet with the reporting student to begin the Title IX grievance process.
Title IX Defense for Students, Staff, and Faculty
Title IX covers not only students, but faculty and staff as well. Just as students can be accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault, so too can the employees of the college or university. More pertinent to the staff and faculty of the college, Title IX also covers discrimination based upon gender or discriminatory practices of the college. If you are a student, staff, or faculty of a college and accused of a Title IX violation, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Colleges and Universities in Rochester, NY
- University of Rochester
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- St. John Fisher University
- Nazareth College
- SUNY Brockport
- SUNY Geneseo
- Roberts Weslyan University
- Monroe Community College
- Hobart and William Smith Colleges
- SUNY Oswego
- Alfred College
- Genesee Community College
- Finger Lakes Community College
Title IX Outcomes in Rochester, NY
At King Law, we have all of the experience that matters. As a former prosecutor, Mr. Colavecchia handled hundreds of violent felony and sexual assault cases cases – thoroughly reviewing them and bringing them to trial. As a criminal defense attorney, he has represented hundreds of individuals accused of crimes. As a Title IX defense attorney he has successfully defended numerous students accused of Title IX violations. His former clients, are now successful individuals, including a doctorate student, an engineer, a teacher, a Master’s student studying cardiovascular surgery, and an Army Cadet. Each of them once faced a Title IX violation that jeopardized their future.
Some of our most recent successes include:
- SUNY Geneseo – student found not responsible.
- RIT – student found not responsible.
- RIT – student found not responsible. Filed a Title IX Violation against the accuser, who was found responsible.
- SUNY Geneseo – student found not responsible.
- SUNY Brockport – student found not responsible.
- SUNY Geneseo – Negotiated a resolution to avoid a hearing which allowed the student to graduate from the college by taking transfer credits from other colleges.
Contact a Title IX Lawyer in Rochester, NY
If you are a student at a local college or university in Rochester, NY and are faced with a Title IX violation, call an experienced attorney from Rochester, NY to defend you. King Law is the firm you must call. Located in the heart of downtown Rochester, at 650 Clinton Square, we can easily meet with and defend any local student. Call King Law and speak directly to the attorney who will handle your case at (585) 270-8882.