Title IX investigations versus criminal investigations

Posted: 7:27 AM, Jun 08, 2017
Updated: 2017-06-08 09:23:16-04

"We're not talking about incarceration," explains professor Mark Dotson, "when it comes to a possible sanction, they're not talking about a criminal record."

A title IX investigation instead can only lead to an expulsion as the most severe sanction.

Dotson, who is a professor at Cooley Law School in Lansing, says part of that are the differences between how title IX investigations determine if someone is guilty of the accusations against them:

"They lower their burden of proof to determine a violation from clear and convincing evidence, for example, and maybe in some cases beyond a reasonable doubt, to preponderance of the evidence which means more likely than not, a violation occurred."

Demetric Vance was dismissed from MSU according to his attorney in his arraignment on Tuesday.

The university can't release information about title IX investigations because of FERPA requirements, but if a student is investigated they won't see any sanctions until the investigation is complete and they are found to have violated the rules of title IX. But those sanctions can be different for any situation.

"No two situations are alike, and to kind of pigeonhole the sanction I think would be inconsistent with the whole notion that we're trying to be fair under the circumstance," says Dotson.

Even though those sanctions can't force prison time, and the university won't release the results, the punishment can still be bad for a record according to Dotson: "A record of being expelled from school is pretty a significant consequence going down the road."