Texas Student Defense – Title IX
Certified Texas Title IX Defense Attorneys | Student Defense at TCU, SMU, Baylor, UNT, UTA and K-12 Schools Across Texas
College or University and K-12 students that become involved with sexual misconduct, criminal allegations, and code of conduct violations face a variety of complex concerns: informal student conduct hearings, potential criminal charges, and formal Title IX investigations. Unfortunately, a momentary lapse in judgment, which happens from time to time with students, can have a major impact on a student’s future.
At Barnett Howard & Williams PLLC, we counsel and defend college and K-12 students at disciplinary hearings, Title 9 investigations and hearings, and misdemeanor or felony criminal cases associated with alleged student misconduct. Our goal is to ensure that an allegation or incident does not end up on the student’s permanent school record or criminal record.
We offer experienced and compassionate representation for students at educational institutions across Texas. Our Title 9 attorneys have handled matters at TCU, UNT, UTA, TCC, Baylor, Texas, and Texas Tech, and K-12 schools across the state. From the moment an allegation is made, throughout the entire process, we counsel students facing these situations and help them navigate through university and school procedures as well as the potential of the criminal justice system. An allegation of sexual misconduct or assault can be an intimidating and scary time for a student and his or her family. We strive to calm your fears as we help you understand what you will be facing over the coming weeks and months of the grievance process.
Our criminal defense attorneys are former state and federal prosecutors, so we know the criminal justice process inside and out. In addition to this background, we have handled numerous cases involving college and university students, shepherding the student through both disciplinary and potential court proceedings. We will take the time to answer all of your questions along the way.
We found Jason to be very open and honest with us going in about the realities of my daughter's case and what possible outcomes we were facing. It was clear to us that he had her best interest at heart.J.C. - Parent of Student Defense Client
Barnett, Howard and Williams came highly recommended and believe me, they did not disappoint. I can sincerely testify that Luke Williams gave over 100% to my son's issue.L. - Parent of Student Defense Client
We hired Brandon the day before my daughter's court date. He was there the next morning and had already handled several issues. I was constantly impressed.B.W. - Parent of Criminal Defense Client
What is Title IX?
“Title IX” refers to U.S. federal law and specifically the Title IX Education Amendments of 1972. The current final rule can be found at 34 C.F.R. Part 106.
Title IX was enacted to protect students from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.
Specifically, Title IX states that:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
This law makes it incumbent on schools and universities that receive federal funding to operate in a non-discriminatory manner. Most, if not all, schools and universities receive federal funding (even if by way of their student’s loans being obtained through Federal Student aid). Ultimately, if a school that receives federal funding does not follow the guidelines – interpreted and ostensibly enforced as mandates – of Title IX federal funding can be withdrawn. Because of this, colleges, universities, and K-12 schools must adhere to strict guidelines when it comes to Title IX complaints as they relate to sexual harassment.
What behavior is prohibited under Title IX?
A Title IX investigation begins when a complaint is made to a University or school’s Title IX office alleging that an act of sexual harassment has occurred. Specifically, 34 C.F.R. Part 106.30 now states that sexual harassment means conduct based on sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- An employee of the [College, University, or school] conditioning the provision of aid, benefit, or service of the recipient of an individual’s participation in unwelcomed sexual conduct;
- Unwelcomed conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity; or
- “Sexual Assault” as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), “dating violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), “domestic violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or “stalking” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30).
Part 1 on the definition above refers to those situations where a professor or employee of the college, university, or school offers a benefit of some sort in exchange for unwelcomed sexual conduct. Part 2 generally refers to any type of unwelcomed sexual conduct between students or school employees. Part 3 of the definition above refers to clearly defined offenses that could also be criminal in nature.
Recent Changes to Title IX Ensure Greater Due Process for Students
Effective August 14, 2020, the Department of Education enacted sweeping changes to the way that Colleges, Universities, adn schools must now conduct Title IX investigations. Prior to these new changes, schools used a single-investigator model leaving the investigation and decision on whether a student had committed a Title IX violation up to one single individual. The previous rules also limited those accused of Title IX violations in what they could do to defend themselves. With the enactment of the new Title IX rules, students accused of Title IX violations now have greater rights to defend themselves including the right to have an advisor of their choice represent them, the right for their advisor to review the information that’s been collected, and the right to a live hearing wherein their attorney can cross-examine the complainant.
The new Title IX rules allow for a student to be represented by an attorney, but don’t require it. A student can choose an advisor who’s not familiar with the Title IX process or law. Choosing an advisor with no legal background or Title IX knowledge could prove to be a huge mistake.
With the enactment of these new rules, it’s become even more imperative that students and educators involved in the Title IX process seek effective representation from an attorney trained and certified in Title IX law.
Title 9 Representation for the Complainant/Victim of Sexual Harassment
The new Title IX rules also mandate that the complainant and victim of sexual harassment be allowed representation by an advisor of their choice. Per the new rules, this advisor does not have to be an attorney. But, the advisor (and specifically not the complainant) will have the opportunity to cross-examine the offending party. The advisor should be equipped to provide legal counsel to the complainant as well.
Like those accused of Title IX violations, it’s crucial that the complainant choose an attorney with Title IX experience and knowledge who can represent them effectively in the Title IX process in lieu of a lay-advisor who may not be experienced with the complexities of Title IX investigations or the related federal laws.
Title IX also applies to the Student-Educator Relationship
Title IX violations can also occur when a student is sexually harassed by an educator or when an educator is sexually harassed by a student. The same rules enacted by the Department of Education becoming effective August 14, 2020 discussed above also apply to these types of situations.
Process of Title IX Investigations
A Title IX investigation begins when a complaint is made to a school or University’s Title IX office alleging that an act of sexual harassment (as defined above) has occurred. This complaint can be made by a student, an educator or anyone else (including a parent) with actual knowledge that an act of sexual harassment has occurred.
Once a complaint is made, an investigation into the complaint is launched by the school or University’s Title IX office. There are strict notification requirements on the institution to inform those being accused of Title IX violations and a person accused should seek legal representation immediately upon receiving notice that they have been named a respondent in a Title IX complaint. A person who’s made the complaint should also seek legal counsel immediately (or even before) the complaint is made with the University.
Federal law mandates how these investigations should proceed and what rights both the complainant and respondent have during these investigations. Again, both the complainant and respondent should seek an attorney advisor immediately upon the opening of a Title IX investigation.
A certified Title IX attorney with prior Title IX experience and knowledge of the complexities of the Federal law that applies to these investigations and proceedings is absolutely necessary for effective representation of either party.
Title IX Policies – Texas Universities
Every educational institution who receives any form of federal funding is required by federal law to have a Title IX policy and make it public. Some of the local Texas schools Title 9 policies and information regarding their sexual misconduct procedures are linked below:
- TCU Title IX Policy
- SMU Title IX Policy
- UTA Title IX Policy
- Baylor Title IX Policy
- UTD Title IX Policy
- North Texas Title IX Policy
- Texas Tech Title IX Policy
- Texas A&M Title IX Policy
- University of Texas Title IX Policy
K-12 Title IX Process
Most of the federal Title IX rules and procedures also apply to K-12 schools across the state as well. There are some differences. Primarily, in lieu of a live hearing wherein the complainant and responded are cross examined, the K-12 Title IX process allows for written questions to be submitted to both parties and other potential witnesses.
Proven Results for Texas Students And Parents
Barnett Howard & Williams Attorney Luke Williams is one of the few attorneys in the State who has earned Title IX certification by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) regarding the new Title IX regulations enacted by the Department of Education. NASPA is the national organization for professionals in the field of student affairs. NASPA’s certification on Title IX and Universities compliance with Title IX is the premier certification program for individuals who are involved in the Title IX process.
Mr. Williams experience representing students in Title IX investigations along with his experience in criminal law – both in prosecution and defense – has uniquely prepared him to provide the most effective representation to students involved in Title IX investigations as either a complainant or respondent.
At Barnett Howard & Williams, our attorneys offer compassionate and patient counsel to students and parents. We have developed a proven track record of positive results for student cases, both at the university level and in the criminal justice system. When a student’s future is on the line, you need experienced representation.
In addition to Title IX matters, you can turn to Barnett Howard & Williams PLLC with confidence in criminal matters involving:
- Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, and all other sexually-related offenses;
- Drug Crimes, including Possession of Marijuana or other controlled substances, or Possession with Intent to Deliver;
- Assault or Disorderly Conduct;
- Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) or other alcohol-related incidents;
- Failure to Provide ID or Resisting arrest;
- Theft, Shoplifting, Burglary or any other property crime;
Some Young Offenders May Be Eligible For A Pretrial Diversion Program When They Face Criminal Charges
In June 2015, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office made significant changes to its “Deferred Prosecution Program.” Please ask us about this program in Tarrant County if you have been charged with a criminal offense!
This program may allow you to avoid court disposition altogether, with the opportunity to try to resolve your case by complying with certain terms set out in a written agreement between you and the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office. If the terms of the pretrial diversion program are completed within the required time frame and you do not violate the agreement, then the diversion program typically provides for the dismissal of your case. In most cases, the student will then be eligible to have the case and arrest expunged from their record so that it cannot be seen by future employers or graduate school.
For young university students with a clean criminal history, a diversion program can be a great option. If you hire our student defense attorneys and you are interested in applying for a diversion program, the first step will be to prepare the application and additional information we will provide to the District Attorney’s Office.
We are dedicated, proven student defense lawyers. At Barnett Howard & Williams PLLC, you can depend on personal attention from lawyers who genuinely care about you or your child. For a FREE consultation of your case, please call (817) 993-9249 or send us an email now.