Top 5 Tips for College the Admissions Brochure Didn’t Prepare You ForTitle IX
As thousands of students nationwide prepare to start their first semester in college, many are unaware of the dangers lurking in their smartphone apps that could get students’ scholarships stripped away—or even kicked out of school.
Students who use Instagram, for example, risk being found guilty and kicked out of school for sending too many unwanted Instagram follow requests—universities may now consider that “stalking.”
Kimberly C. Lau, a Warshaw Burstein, LLP partner and chair of its College Discipline Practice, has seen it happen.
After handling more than 100 Title IX cases across the country, Ms. Lau has seen students kicked out of school for accusations ranging from alleged unwelcome pats on the shoulder to late night college hook-ups, where alcohol clouded the memories of all involved.
Ms. Lau put together some of her top tips all students headed off to college should know to protect their futures.
Tip No. 1: Read Your Student Handbook
· Know what exactly constitutes a “violation” under the student handbook. Get a clear understanding of consent as defined by the school—students could even ask the Title IX office for examples of what “stalking” and “consent” mean under the school’s policy.
Tip No. 2: Avoid Hook Up Hazards
· Be careful about assuming you know what someone’s “normal” level of intoxication is that you just met—especially when engaging in intimacy. This situation makes it difficult to know whether someone is too drunk to say “yes.” If in doubt, don’t risk your future educational and career opportunities by being found in violation by a university disciplinary board.
Tip No. 3: Get Verbal Consent At Every Stage
· Even though some schools define consent to include both actions and words, it’s wise to get verbal consent at each stage of sexual activity from kissing, to disrobing, to touching to actual intercourse. A verbal yes is safer than relying on body language or non-verbal cues. Men and women also perceive consent differently—women often wait to be asked for verbal consent while men rely on non-verbal cues.
Tip No. 4: Drink With a Designated Friend
· If you are thinking of drinking while partying, have someone in your group serve as a sober, "designated friend" that can step in when you may be too intoxicated to make reasonable choices.
Tip No. 5: Understand Your School's Conduct Process
· Many people are surprised to find out that the school, not the complainant, controls the process and may carry it out even if the complainant wants to drop the charges. Students on either side of the conduct process may unknowingly waive crucial rights to challenge information or opportunities to fully tell their side.
A lawyer is your best bet to protect your rights and help navigate through this challenging college discipline process, as either the complainant or respondent. Contact Kimberly C. Lau, Esq., for a consultation for how you can protect your future.
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