Filing a Title IX Appeal
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1. What is a Title IX appeal?
After your Title IX case has been investigated and adjudicated, your school will issue their findings of responsibility (decision about whether the Respondent violated the school misconduct policy) and, if applicable, sanctions (punishment for the misconduct). If you or the other party object to the findings or the sanctions, you should both have an opportunity to appeal them. This means that the decision will be reviewed by an office or administrator who did not handle the original complaint; they will decide if the original decision should stay in effect or if there was an issue that needs to be corrected.
2. Can I appeal if I disagree with the outcome of my Title IX case?
Usually, yes. However, schools typically only allow parties to appeal their Title IX outcome on certain grounds. While the specific grounds for appeal vary by school, common grounds for appeal include:
- the sanctions were disproportionate to the findings (meaning the sanctions were either too severe or not severe enough);
- there was a procedural error that altered the case outcome;
- the outcome is not supported by the evidence (meaning the findings were unreasonable based on the evidence); or
- the investigator was biased. (NOTE: Bias is extremely difficult to prove and cases are very rarely reversed on this ground.)
Check with your Title IX office or in your school’s policies to find out what grounds for appeal are available.
3. When and how should I file my appeal?
This information should be provided to you by the Title IX office along with the finding of responsibility and grounds for appeal. If this is not the case, reach out to the Title IX Coordinator for more information. Keep in mind that appeal deadlines are often short; you may only have 5 or 10 days to file your appeal. You can request an extension if you need more time to write your appeal or find someone who can help you.
4. What will be reviewed during an appeal and what will the result be?
This varies by school. Some schools review cases de novo at the appeals stage, which means all of the evidence is re-reviewed and re-considered during the appeal without regard for whatever findings the investigator originally made.