Although in some states, stalking is recognized as a crime and can be prosecuted as a crime, standards for “stalking” on campus are very different. This often leads to administrators bringing charges against students for conduct that is either unfortunate or simply part of everyday existence beyond campus, such as being seen on the street or in the same dining hall by another student who feels uncomfortable about it.
This can lead to a Title IX case for “stalking” on campus.
Stalking can be a real problem, however, The over-prosecution of trivial cases of “stalking” on campus can also mean that students who are really being harassed, threatened, or followed do not get the attention they need to keep them safe.
Serious cases can get lost in the background noise of trivial student complaints, especially to college administrators bent on micro-managing students’ private life–but accomplishing nothing.
If you believe that you are being stalked, you should take action as soon as possible. Conversely, if you believe that you are being wrongfully accused of stalking, your reputation and more may be on the line. Our higher education attorneys have handled both kinds of cases and we are here to help. Contact Allen Harris today.
How is Stalking Defined?
Stalking is the repeated and unwelcome attention of another person, that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety. Typically the stalker is an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend or would-be partner. Victims almost always know their stalker.
Many behaviors can be characterized as stalking. These include following someone or “lying in wait” at a dorm room or another location. It can also include remote contact through social media or unwanted phone calls. Digital means of communication have opened the door to “cyberstalking,” which includes tracking someone through a social media platform, sending unwanted texts or emails, repeated posts on your social media pages, or other methods.
It can also include vandalizing your property, like “keying” your car.
Protecting Victims of Stalking on Campus
Victims of stalking have a lot to worry about. Of course, stalking is a significant and unwanted invasion of privacy on its own. Unfortunately, it is often coupled with the very real fear that it may eventually lead to something worse. Our firm is here to help in any way we can.
A School’s Responsibility When Investigating Stalking
Most states have statutes that define criminal stalking, but colleges and universities frequently investigate and impose sanctions under Title IX policies for behavior that does not rise to the level of a crime. Stalking has become one of the most common accusations on campus under the authority of campus Title IX offices.
Colleges and universities typically ignore the requirement that “stalking” rise to the level that a reasonable person would find threatening. They are also more than willing to prosecute unreasonable cases.
Potential Defenses Against Stalking Charges
Fortunately, these cases are often suited for informal resolution. You have defenses available to you if you are accused of stalking.
In many cases, a stalking charge arises out of miscommunication or because a person is unaware that his or her actions were objectionable to another student. Having legal counsel can help clear these matters up and ensure that a charge of stalking does not derail your education.
Contact Our Lawyers Who Handle Campus Stalking Cases
Regardless of your situation, you must understand that you have legal protections under Title IX and our firm is here to preserve your rights. Contact Allen Harris today.