Joshua Adam Engel has been featured in a number of recent media articles on Title IX issues.
Members of this small but fast-growing legal specialty say the problem dates to 2011, when the Education Department advised colleges to take sexual assault more seriously and to lower the burden of proof for people bringing complaints. Since then, a White House task force has issued new guidelines and the Office of Civil Rights has released the names of more than 85 colleges that are under investigation for not doing enough. Faced with all that political pressure, said JoshuaAdam Engel, a lawyer in Mason, Ohio, colleges are panicking.
Despite assurances that the bill would be fair to everyone involved, some advocates on both sides found fault with it. “There’s nothing here that protects the fundamental due-process rights of the accused,” said Joshua A. Engel, a lawyer who represents students who feel they have been unjustly accused of assault. That includes the right to effectively cross-examine an accuser and limits on the use of hearsay, he said. In addition, “You can have all the training you want, but if the people you’re training have insufficient experience in handling these cases, that’s not enough.”
Historically lax punishment for rapists at some colleges has spurred new rules from the federal government in recent years. Now, schools are required to investigate and resolve any allegation of sexual assault quickly and decisively. Failure by colleges to do that can lead to fines, federal investigations that can last years and a black eye to their public reputations.
“They wanna say, ‘We’re tough; we dealt with this,’” said Joshua Engel, a Cincinnati lawyer who represents students in lawsuits they file against colleges over judicial decisions. “Essentially, they want to put heads out on pikes in front of the school to show that they’re tough.”
Josh Engel, an Ohio-based attorney who represents students being denied due process in sexual assault hearings, told the Washington Examiner that schools won’t get credit for a fair process if it doesn’t lead to a punishment.
“All the incentives for the school are lined up at the moment to encourage them to throw kids out. Schools do not get any credit from the Department of Education because they provide adequate or more-than-adequate due process,” Engel said. “All the Department seems to be concerned about these days is results, which is, ‘how many kids have you disciplined?’ ”
In another case, a Hamilton County Common Pleas judge could order UC to stop disciplinary proceedings against a student after a disciplinary hearing found he violated the Code of Conduct with two female students.
The student, . . . had sued UC.
“They gave the impression that they were looking to make an example out of somebody,” said Josh Engel, one of [the student’s] lawyers. “It sure looked like they were making an example of my client so they could demonstrate they were taking sexual assault on campus seriously.”
AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers):
Joshua A. Engel, a lawyer who also represents [students] who feel they’ve been unjustly accused of rape, said many colleges “provide significant resources for students who make allegations, but no support for students who are accused; many cannot afford legal help and must act alone.”
Noting that “Dear Colleague” letter says that colleges must provide due process to accused students, the duo’s attorney, Joshua Adam Engel, aggressively defines the concept, arguing that “students facing discipline must be afforded the opportunity to defend, enforce or protect their rights through presentation of their own evidence, confrontation of adverse witnesses, and oral argument.”
The attorneys who filed the suit, Josh Engel and Mike Allen, also poke holes in the UC Code of Conduct concerning the Administration Review Committee Hearing that accused students are entitled to before being disciplined. They claim that some provisions in the code of conduct “raise significant due process and self-incrimination concerns.”
“UC does not undertake a full, complete and impartial investigation prior to the institution of disciplinary proceeding for allegations of sexual assault or harassment,” according to the suit.