Cleaning Up Your Record After Being Found Responsible of a Title IX Accusation

Dec. 10, 2019 By Andrew Miltenberg

Cleaning Up Your Record After Being Found Responsible of a Title IX Accusation

If you or your child has been found responsible for sexual harassment or sexual misconduct at college, the potential negative consequences are substantial.  This is true even if you are not suspended or expelled from the school.

Likely, your college transcript and/or disciplinary record will contain a notation of policy violations and possibly the sanctions as well.  This notation will significantly reduce your chances of being accepted by a graduate school program or being hired by a desired employer. For example, a Michigan State student was drafted as a player in the National Football League, only to be released and blacklisted by other teams after a Title IX determination was made by the university on the complainant’s appeal of a finding of “no responsibility.”

If you are found responsible and have not already done so, it is critical that you hire a specialized Title IX defense lawyer to attempt to clean up your record and transcript and expunge the violation to the extent possible after you have served any sanctions.  Your transcript is a graduate school or an employer’s primary window to your candidacy and a Title IX lawyer will take appropriate steps to attempt to restore it without any notation of wrongdoing.

One way to do so is by filing a federal or state lawsuit to reverse the finding and remove the notation from the transcript.  The basis for such a lawsuit is that the school’s disciplinary process was biased or flawed from the standpoint of not providing you with due process or fundamental fairness which Title IX effectively requires.  This could result by reason of bias by the investigators; the failure to follow the school’s own disciplinary process to your detriment; a failure to timely provide all materials submitted by the complainant; a failure to provide you with some format in which to cross-examine the complainant or her witnesses; a failure to consider or properly weigh evidence that you attempted to get before the hearing panel; or some combination of these factors and others.

In the Michigan State case, the accused student’s initial university acquittal was followed by an accuser’s appeal devoid of any due process rights for the accused student.  The only notice of the appeal was sent to an email address the now part-time graduate student no longer used. His conviction of responsibility for policy violations was rushed through without his knowledge or involvement.  At that point, the NFL team released him due to the university overturning the “not responsible” decision on appeal to find him “responsible” for sexual misconduct. No other teams would pick him up.  

But a Title IX lawsuit caused Michigan State to effectively admit its wrongdoing.  The university paid an undisclosed settlement amount to the student and removed the notation on his transcript albeit two years after his release from the NFL.  An experienced Title IX defense attorney can scour the record of your conviction and possibly bring a similar action for lack of due process or fundamental fairness in the conduct of your disciplinary action.  Often, universities will settle such lawsuits and agree to remove the transcript notation. Sometimes, this may require a court order requiring the school to do so.

The most successful outcomes occur when a specialized Title IX defense lawyer is retained at the beginning of the process, i.e., when a complaint is first received.

If the student retains counsel after separation from their school, depending on the merits of the case, a lawsuit may be the only recourse. Some states, such as New York, allow petitions against state universities. Some schools will also allow petitions directly to the school to remove suspension notations after sanctions are successfully completed. Title IX counsel can effectively draft all the necessary documents for you.

If you believe your due process rights have been violated, let’s talk.

Our attorneys are Title IX defense specialists and we have helped hundreds of accused students across the country who have been treated unfairly by schools. We are parents too. Call us at 212-736-4500 or contact us as soon as a complaint is filed and we will be there aggressively protecting your rights, ensuring a fundamentally fair process, or establishing the deficiencies that will lead a court to reverse the school’s adverse findings. There is no fee for a private consultation.