Indiana University Title IX Procedures

November 10, 2021

By Keffer Hirschauer LLP

Indiana University Title IX Procedures

In the era of #MeToo, sexual misconduct and attempts to hold the alleged perpetrators accountable are often in the news. These stories emerge from countless situations, and institutions of higher education are not immune.  Indiana University (IU) is aware of statistics from recent years showing an increase in reports of sexual misconduct on IU campuses. The university clearly states a policy of non-discrimination and, specifically, a commitment to preventing and addressing sexual violence on its campuses. When implementing Indiana University Title IX procedures, the university also has an obligation to protect the rights of all people on its campuses, and that includes students, staff, and faculty accused of Title IX violations.

What You Need to Know about Indiana University Title IX Procedures

Any form of sexual misconduct, be it harassment or physical assault, is rightly condemned. In the pursuit of justice, however, any lack of a fair and impartial proceeding must not be condoned, and it is essential for those accused of misconduct to have an experienced Title IX attorney at their side to protect them from potentially unfair and unjust investigations and to advocate on their behalf for an unbiased and transparent proceeding.

Students accused of sexual misconduct face irreparable losses, including damage to their reputations and potential loss of academic credit and opportunities. Faculty and staff members wrongly accused of sexual misconduct also face long-lasting damage to their reputations and careers, including putting tenured positions at risk. Respondents (those accused) in Title IX proceedings need counsel very familiar with Indiana University Title IX procedures and Title IX law in general.

The History and Purpose of Title IX

Title IX was one result of the women’s movement during the late 1960s and 1970s. Changes to the federal education laws in place at the time included Title IX, a 1972 set of amendments to higher education laws. Title IX is a civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives federal financial assistance.

Title IX applies to complaints of conduct that:

  • Allege sexual harassment or sex crimes such as sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking as defined by Title IX rules and regulations
  • Occur within a university program or activity
  • Occur in the US
  • Allege the perpetrator is a student or employee of the educational institution or is currently affiliated with the university, such as an applicant for admission

Title IX does not apply to allegations of sexual misconduct at non-university, off-campus locations unless it occurs within a university program or activity at such location. It also does not apply to allegations of sexual misconduct that don’t meet the Title IX definitions.

Indiana University’s Response to the 2020 Amendments to Title IX

In May 2020, the US Department of Education amended the regulations implementing Title IX. The changes increased protections for those accused of Title IX violations. The 2020 regulations spelled out specific types of conduct to which Title IX applied and how the federal government expected institutions like IU to respond.

The 2020 Title IX regulations were controversial, in part due to a new requirement for mandatory live hearings and cross-examinations. As an educational institution required to comply with federal laws, IU revised its sexual misconduct policy to comply with the new federal rules. The IU revisions included an interim policy, which took effect August 14, 2020.

Current Indiana University Title IX Procedures

Indiana University created the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) in 2018 by merging two then-existing offices, the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity and the Office of Student Welfare and Title IX. The OIE oversees the university’s compliance with federal civil rights laws, including Title IX. The OIE is based at the IU Bloomington campus and oversees enforcement of Indiana University Title IX procedures and policies there while also advising other IU campuses.

IU has a Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, & Conduct (the Code), which is intended to identify the basic rights, responsibilities, and expectations of all students. The Code includes the right to freedom from discrimination, which in turn includes sexual discrimination as contemplated by Title IX.

All University campuses

University-wide, there are certain Title IX complaint resolution procedures that must be followed to comply with federal law. This includes that if a case is within Title IX’s scope, a live hearing is required, whether they involve students, staff, or faculty. In addition, each party must identify a hearing advisor who is able to directly question the other party and witnesses.

The university’s main Title IX Coordinator fields questions or complaints regarding alleged Title IX violations at Indiana University in Bloomington. The coordinators responsibilities include monitoring and oversight of overall implementation of Title IX Compliance at the university, including coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of grievance procedures for faculty, staff, students, and other members of the university community.

All parties to Title IX cases have the right to be treated fairly and to have access to qualified representation. All parties involved will benefit from a fundamentally fair campus proceeding, but an experienced Title IX defense attorney is essential for Title IX respondents.

IU Bloomington

On the IU Bloomington campus, complaints of sexual misconduct against a student or against a faculty or staff member can be made to the Office of Student Ethics or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Complaints against students will be addressed in accordance with Indiana University Title IX procedures pertaining to allegations against students, and complaints against faculty and staff members will be addressed in accordance with the procedures specific to allegations against faculty and staff members.

Additional IU Campus Contacts

The IU Code of Conduct covers all university campuses, but each individual campus is responsible for establishing its own set of procedures for implementation of the Code. Additional questions about how the Code works on IU Bloomington or on campuses other than IU Bloomington can be directed to the dean of students at the appropriate campus. Below are links to these contacts and campus-specific information:

Allegations Falling Outside of Title IX

At the time of the 2020 revisions to the Title IX regulations, IU’s sexual misconduct policy had been in place for several years. The 2020 regulations allow universities to continue to address sexual misconduct falling outside of the parameters set by the new rules. IU crafted its interim policy to comply with the new Title IX regulations and kept its previous procedures in place to address sexual misconduct not covered under Title IX and reports of discrimination or harassment based on any protected class.

Are Changes on the Horizon for Indiana University Title IX Procedures?

The recently revised Title IX procedures nationwide and at IU’s core IU Bloomington and satellite regional campuses could change again soon because further revisions to Title IX regulations are expected in 2022. While the specific changes are yet unknown, this past summer the Department of Education held public hearings to gather feedback on the current regulations and input on what should or should not be changed.

With yet another round of changes to Title IX regulations possible in the near future, the need for skilled representation for every accused student, faculty, and staff member is critical. Anyone accused of a Title IX violation should consult with an attorney who stays current with the changing landscape of Title IX regulations and their implementation on IU campuses.

The Merits of Including an ATIXA Advisor in Indiana University Title IX Procedures

A Title IX advisor can help ensure compliance with the federal regulations and IU’s Title IX policies and procedures. Such an advisor can also serve as a sounding board and provide oversight and guidance at all stages of the proceedings, including the investigative, post-investigative, pre-hearing, hearing, post-hearing, and appellate phases.

At IU, both the petitioner (the alleged victim) and the respondent (the alleged perpetrator of the violation) are entitled to be accompanied by an advisor or support person of their choice. When participating in Indiana University Title IX procedures at any campus, working with an experienced guide is invaluable. For a student or professor accused of misconduct, a capable attorney often has an enormous impact in ensuring an impartial process to protect the respondent’s educational or professional career and reputation from unwarranted damage. An attorney at your side can also offer advice and peace of mind during various phases of the process.

The Association for Title IX Administrators (ATIXA) is a national membership organization for Title IX professionals, aimed at promoting, developing, and safeguarding best practices in Title IX administration. Completion of ATIXA training demonstrates a commitment to excellence in the field and a deep understanding of Title IX procedures.

Your Trusted Title IX Advisor Is at Keffer Hirschauer LLP

Although Title IX cases are civil, not criminal, cases and do not include formal court proceedings, the consequences of a violation can have serious implications for named respondent—impacting education, employment and career—and can even lead to criminal charges. At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, you’ll find an Indiana Title IX defense attorney who has completed ATIXA training and even a certified ATIXA Title IX administrator and investigator. These credentials inform their work as Title IX advisors, a role in which they help universities, schools, and parties to Title IX actions navigate Title IX proceedings.

With experience at all phases of Indiana University Title IX Procedures—from investigation through appeal—Tom F. Hirschauer III is one of the few ATIXA-trained attorneys in Indiana with experience in this area representing those accused in Title IX matters and who is supported by a team of ATIXA trained attorneys. To contact Tom and his team, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP at (317) 857-0160 or complete this online contact form for a free consultation.

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