What is a Title IX Investigation?

An investigation is part of the administrative process Marshall uses to determine whether Marshall’s policy has been violated. The investigation is not a legal or disciplinary proceeding. As a result, a Title IX investigation does not determine guilt or innocence relative to any local, state, or federal law. It thus does not adhere to the same rules that govern or might be applied in a legal or disciplinary proceeding.

In the Title IX investigation process, individuals bringing forward allegations are referred to as Complainants, and individuals responding to allegations are referred to as Respondents. Sometimes Complainants and Respondents are referred to individually as “a party” or jointly as “the parties.” Individuals who have direct experience with or knowledge of events, issues, or circumstances related to the investigation or whom Complainants or Respondents want the investigator to speak with are referred to as witnesses.


An attorney hired by a student can serve as an Advisor, but in the context of Title IX matters in higher education, an attorney is not serving as an attorney. Asking for all communications to go through the attorney is related to representation, which is inappropriate for an attorney serving in an Advisor role. Therefore, the request that all communications go through an attorney will not honored.

This is due to the requirement under Title IX regulations that the Title IX Office communicate with parties, and there is no exception that the Title IX Office can communicate with Advisors in lieu of communicating with the advisee. Further, such requests privilege one party over another, and neither party will get special treatment. Serving as an Advisor with the appropriate signed release from the advisee will allow the attorney to receive information. Still, again, the Title IX Office is required to communicate with the parties to ensure they are fully informed of the Title IX matter and that will continue throughout the process.

The student must submit an authorization form for you to have access to information about the case. If the student intends to have you attend a proceeding as an Advisor, they must notify the Title IX Office through this form.

The Title IX Office will correspond at all times directly with the student, and not through any third party. You may receive copies of correspondence with the student’s authorization.

Download Authorization Form In Title IX cases, an attorney may participate in any stage of the process.
There are significant differences between the criminal process and the Title IX process, but they are not mutually exclusive. If a student is arrested and charged in a criminal proceeding, that student can also be charged under the Title IX policy. It is up to the complainant whether they wish to contact law enforcement or not.

This is a Marshall University hearing, not a court of law. Formal rules of evidence and court procedures are not used and do not apply unless specified therein. For example, discovery procedures, requirements for pleadings, and the hearsay rule do not apply in this hearing. It is expected that everyone will conduct themselves with civility and that any information presented will be relevant to the issues to be resolved at this hearing.

Learn More about The Title IX Process
The standard in the Title IX process is “preponderance of evidence.”

The sanctions are developed with consideration of the individual circumstances of the case, which can include the student’s prior disciplinary history and any other relevant information that the review panel deems useful.

No. Title IX cases are confidential in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Complainants have the right to be advised of the outcome.


If you have any questions or would like additional clarification regarding the investigation process, please contact the Title IX Investigator.