Title IX proceedings are required to follow federal guidelines. Most schools require that the investigation of a Title IX claim be completed in 60 days (although the time can be extended if witnesses are unavailable because of a vacation, etc.).
In the notice of the allegation, the school requests that the accused student contact the Title IX investigator to make an appointment to meet to review the allegations. The student may take an advisor with them who can advise only, but cannot speak on behalf of, advocate for, or represent the accused student. The accused student should have an experienced attorney with them to avoid making statements that could be used against them in a related criminal proceeding, avoid making inconsistent statements, and avoid making statements that could make matters worse.
The investigation phase involves first viewing the allegations, then viewing the evidence presented by the reporting student, then presenting evidence that is favorable to your defense or mitigation of the claims against you, then proposing questions to the reporting party and answering (or not) any questions propounded by the reporting student, and then reviewing the final investigation report which summarizes the evidence and determines if the alleged Title IX violations were committed or not.
At USC, when you go in to view the evidence, they take all your personal belongings and permit you to only look at the compiled evidence and take notes. They count the pages when you are finished, and will not return your belongings until they have accounted for all of their material.
If the school feels that a crime has been committed, the school can report the matter to the police, whether the reporting student wants to do so or not. Also, the school will wait to advise an accused student of a Title IX allegation until after the police have completed their criminal investigation, which usually involves having the victim make a pretext phone call to the accused student, which the police listen to and record for further criminal proceedings. It is very important to have an experienced attorney assist you so you do not make incriminating or inconsistent statements that can be used against you in criminal and Title IX proceedings.
The burden of proof used by Title IX investigators is a preponderance of the evidence standard, which is a very low civil burden of proof (50.01%) and not beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard used in criminal cases in court. This is significant for many reasons. First, school officials are used to investigate allegations of rape and other sexual misconduct, which are criminal allegations, yet the school officials are not forensically trained. Second, Title IX proceedings are gender biased, which means they are slanted in favor of female reporting students and against male students who make up the majority of the accused. Third, with this low burden of proof, female reporting students are usually believed over male accused students even if they waited a year to report, even if there is no scientific evidence of the alleged sexual misconduct or rape, and even if there is very little or no corroborating evidence. Fourth and finally, the consequences of being found in violation of Title IX can result in suspension or expulsion from school, a permanent notation on your school record and ruining the accused future plans of obtaining a degree, professional license or prestigious job.
After the final report and determination, the report is submitted to a Title IX officer to recommend a sanction for the conduct, or, for example USC sends the final report to a sanction panel comprised of students, professors, and administrators for a recommended sanction. All notices and reports are sent by email to the accused and reporting students, separately. Sanctions can include a warning; exclusion from a class, section or school housing; probation, with requirements such as counseling, community service and restitution; deferred suspension, which is like probation; suspension for a semester, a year or more depending on the severity of the conduct; and expulsion.
School disciplinary records will always include Title IX outcomes and sanctions imposed. Title IX officers will have access to and will consider past discipline and violations. Deferred suspensions, probation and suspensions will be placed on transcripts and official records only during the time of the suspension. Expulsions are permanently on student records. At USC, the school has the sole discretion to remove a Title IX suspension from a student’s record after the suspension period is over, if the student has been compliant with any requirements and has been accepted back to the school.