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FREE: Common Missteps Schools Make When It Comes to Hearings

Common Missteps Schools Make When It Comes to Hearings

Written By Lexi Weyrick and Liz DeChellis

The many iterations of Title IX regulations in recent decades have resulted in a difficult compliance landscape for schools to navigate. Most recently, the 2020 Title IX regulations mandated hearings for qualifying conduct, and included specific requirements educational institutions must adhere to when conducting those hearings. While many schools do their best to provide a proper, safe hearing process, there are some common missteps that occur. As experienced Adjudicators, Lexi Weyrick and Liz DeChellis encounter these issues frequently and partner with campus constituents to try to avoid the issues explored in this article.
Liz DeChellis serves as Van Dermyden Makus’ Title IX Program Director, overseeing all Title IX investigations and hearings. She also frequently conducts Title IX trainings as a faculty member of T9 Mastered. Trained in Trauma Informed Forensic Interviewing, Liz is also an experienced investigator in Title IX sexual misconduct claims. Liz understands best practices in the Title IX arena, and the challenges facing schools and parties when sexual violence allegations surface. She has conducted investigations for K-12 Districts, as well as higher education institutions. Liz is an expert in conducting Title IX Hearings. She has served as a Hearing Officer for multiple schools, applying a variety of policies and practices, and is familiar with both “new regulation” cases and cases falling outside the new regulations. In this role, Liz serves as the final adjudicator, completing the complaint and investigation process. She also serves as an Appeal Officer when students challenge the process, the outcome, and/or the sanction. Liz has overseen cases involving dating violence, drug abuse, sexual assault, and incapacitation. She has experience questioning parties using trauma-informed techniques, making admissibility and relevance decisions, and issuing well-reasoned, thorough decisions. She is licensed to practice law in the State of California, and is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR).

Lexi Weyrick is an Attorney Investigator with Van Dermyden Makus Law Corporation. Lexi originally joined the Firm as a part-time Law Clerk in February 2021 during her final semester of law school. Lexi graduated cum laude from Boston University, School of Law in May 2021, where she successfully completed the voluntary Pro Bono Pledge requirements. During law school, she served as an Executive Editor of the Public Interest Law Journal and as an intern for the Victim Rights Law Center. She also worked as a research assistant to Professor Naomi Mann, analyzing Title IX cases in federal and state courts and studying the social and political forces at play in Title IX. In October 2020, she spoke on a panel for a national Title IX Symposium regarding the litigation challenges to the 2020 Title IX Rule. Additionally, Lexi was a Massachusetts SJC Rule 3:03 Student Practitioner during her final two years of law school, which allowed her to serve indigent clients through the Access to Justice Civil Litigation Clinic and Greater Boston Legal Services as a legal assistant.