The process of appeals isn’t unified across campuses, so it can be different among different schools. Title IX doesn’t outline an appeals process or require a school to adhere to certain guidelines. There is just one note in the Title IX legislation regarding appeals. Though appeals are optional, the Title IX legislation states that should a school choose to adopt an appeals process, the policy must be quick, impartially mediated, and have equal consideration for both involved parties. If you’re concerned about the appeals process of your specific university, you can talk to a lawyer who’s experienced with Title IX legislation.
Appeal Requirements for Title IX
A Title IX appeal may be invoked in a college or university that has outlined a specific appeals process. Appeals are usually invoked so that a person can make sure that the investigation didn’t have any procedural errors. An appeal might also be filed if one of the involved parties has new evidence to introduce that could affect the original decision. It’s important to understand that the appeals process is meant to be used in cases where the outcome of the investigation may have been affected by incomplete information or procedural issues.
Some universities might also implement an appeals process for cases in which a perpetrator is found by the administration to be guilty of committing sexual violence. If the perpetrator believes that the penalties they face are too harsh, they can appeal the punishment. Conversely, if the complainant believes that the penalties are not harsh enough, they can file an appeal to have the case reconsidered. The person filing the appeal must be able to make a specific argument for why the punishment is too harsh or not harsh enough, though. If the individual doesn’t like the choice of punishment but doesn’t have a compelling argument for a reconsideration, they generally won’t be able to appeal.
Universities that adopt appeals policies must continue to adhere to Title IX specifications in their procedures. This means that the school must create specified procedures that are codified and written down. The administration will follow them when taking the perpetrator or the complainant through the appeals process. Any appeals process for Title IX decisions must be written with all the other information regarding the school’s grievance procedures for Title IX compliance.
The appeals process cannot be unnecessarily lengthy or complex. It should not be designed to drag a decision out or to be used as a punishment for anyone involved in the situation. Every school must design their appeals process to be speedy, straightforward, and with equal attention to all involved parties. Another vitally important aspect of appeals is that the administrators and counselors who facilitate the process must have professional training in dealing with trauma from sexual violence.
Title IX has no codified or required appeals process, which means that schools aren’t required to adhere to certain specifications in their appeals panel. Each university can decide how many people will review the appeal, reconsider the case, and decide whether to uphold the original ruling or not. The only requirement that all university panels must adhere to is that every involved individual has been given specific Title IX training.
Brown University offers an appeal panel that is comprised of three professionals in human resources. One of these people is the vice president of human resources. All three of them have gone through Title IX training and have had training in how to deal with sexual violence and trauma.
Another example would be Pace University, which also has three individuals involved in the appeals process. However, the panel is made up of two university officials who the Title IX coordinator appoints, along with the university provost. Schools like the University of Minnesota have just a single appellate officer who makes the decision of whether or not to uphold the appeal. Single-person panels are often dictated by the provost.
Different Appeals Processes
Different universities will have different specifications regarding the timeline in which appeals can be filed, the information that must be included in an appeal, and circumstances in which appeals cannot be filed.