If you’re a Georgia college student, you’ve probably heard something about Title IX in connection with sexual assault or harassment allegations. You might have heard that your school has a Title IX coordinator, or even an entire office dedicated to handling accusations under Title IX.
But what is Title IX, and how does it work in Georgia?
Like in every other state, schools in Georgia that receive federal funding are required to abide by federal education regulations. Title IX is the federal regulation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, and for years it has been used to fight sexual assault and harassment on college campuses.
Kim Frye, Cobb County’s fiercest defense attorney, has spent years defending the people of Georgia from sexual assault charges. Read on for her explanation of what Title IX is and how it works in Georgia.
What is Title IX?
The Education Amendments of 1972 aimed to fight discrimination in higher education. Here’s the text of Title IX, the ninth section of these amendments:
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.
Since the passage of these amendments, various courts and school administrations around the country have interpreted Title IX as a protection against sexual harassment or assault.
The basis for this interpretation is that a culture of harassment and not taking accusations seriously creates a discriminatory environment for women, LBTQ students, and others who face this sort of treatment.
Any college or university that receives some sort of federal funding, which includes almost all major institutions, must abide by Title IX. This means, among other things, that schools have to provide consequences for those accused of sexual assault, or risk losing federal funding.
How is Title IX enforced in Georgia?
The specifics of how sexual assault claims are investigated vary from school to school. In addition, federal guidelines around Title IX are always changing because of its political volatility, which means that university policies frequently have to change as well.
That being said, most schools will have a Title IX coordinator, or at least a staff member who has the responsibility of handling Title IX claims. If someone accuses you of sexual assault or harassment, this coordinator or office will begin an investigation into the incident, usually involving written statements and some kind of hearing, and eventually decide on what consequences, if any, that you will face.
Here are some of the consequences you could face for sexual assault on your campus:
- Academic probation
- Removal from certain classes
- Compensation given to alleged victims
- Restrictions of where you can go on campus
It’s important to remember that a university investigation is not the same thing as a criminal trial.
This means that your school administration doesn’t have the power to send you to jail, but it also means that you might not have the same due process protections that you would in the legal system.
Here are some of the differences between a typical student disciplinary process and a criminal charge:
- You don’t have the right to an attorney
- The investigation is usually conducted by faculty, staff, or students at your university
- School administrations may introduce interim measures as investigations are underway, such as no-contact orders or interim suspension
- Consequences may include suspension or expulsion instead of fines or jail time
Since many school’s Title IX policies mandate the filing of a police report, there’s no guarantee that you won’t also face criminal charges at the same time.
What do I do if I’m accused of campus sexual assault?
The first thing you should do if you’re accused of sexual assault at a Georgia college or university is contact a defense attorney.
You might not be entitled to representation in your school’s hearings, but defense attorneys with experience handling Title IX cases know how to navigate university disciplinary proceedings and prepare your defense. In addition, a defense attorney will be able to help you in case criminal charges do arise.
Here are some other steps you can take to protect yourself if you’re accused of sexual assault:
- Don’t talk to anyone else on campus about the accusations
- Don’t talk to your accuser or try to retaliate against them
- Begin gathering evidence that would support your side, such as communications, photos, or school logs that prove you weren’t there
Contact a Title IX defense attorney in Georgia today
At the Frye Law Group, we understand the serious academic and legal consequences you can face if you’re accused of sexual assault. That’s why we’ve spent years helping people defend their rights and fight for the justice they deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.