Six years of federal Title IX policy that stripped college students and faculty members of important due process protections and sowed confusion among administrators is finally over. Today, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced that the April 4, 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter and an accompanying 2014 guidance document are rescinded. The 2011 letter mandated that colleges use the low, “preponderance of the evidence” standard in adjudicating accusations of sexual misconduct on campus. It also recommended the removal of other critical elements of a fair procedure, such as the right to cross-examination and prohibitions on double jeopardy (being tried for the same accusation twice)…“The campus justice system was and is broken,” said FIRE Executive Director Robert Shibley and author of Twisting Title IX.
Monthly Archives: September 2017
The University of South Alabama is facing a lawsuit filed by a student who says his rights were violated when USA found him responsible for two reported sexual assaults. The lawsuit alleges the processes USA used to investigate the allegations against the male student relied heavily on “hearsay” testimony, biased administrators and a closed-door hearing led by a panel of improperly trained students and faculty members.
lagniappemobile.com By Jason Johnson
Since 2014, at least four students suspended or expelled for violating MSU’s sexual misconduct policy have sued the university over a lack of due process in how their cases were handled. This 5th lawsuit alleges that there were serious problems with MSU’s investigation, and that key facts that corroborated the accused’s story were disregarded, and that individuals weren’t interviewed under oath and the investigator’s notes weren’t provided to the accused. The accused, who was then a 22-year-old senior, met the accuser in the fall of 2016 through Jack’d, a gay chatting and dating app, according to the investigatory report. The senior invited the freshman to tailgate in October and both admitted to drinking and kissing during the day. Their stories diverge from there.
lansingstatejournal.com By RJ Wolcott
Two former members of the University of Virginia’s Phi Kappa Psi fraternity have a strong enough defamation argument against Rolling Stone that the case should proceed to trial, an appeals court ruled Tuesday. The decision is a major blow to Rolling Stone‘s publisher, Jann Wenner and to Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the disgraced author of a now thoroughly debunked RS article about a gang rape on UVA’s campus. No one disputes that no such assault took place at Phi Psi. The question is whether Erdeley and her editors screwed up so colossally that the magazine can actually be held liable for defamation. And now, for a third time, a court has said, yes.
reason.com By Robby Soave
Sandra Vasquez, Pitzer’s new Dean of Students, was cited in a court order for concealing evidence in a Title IX investigation at UCSB. Vasquez concealed two pieces of material evidence despite assuring the [accused] student that she had disclosed to him all information. Vasquez willfully denied the accused the opportunity to respond to all the evidence against him. The evidence turned out to be completely fabricated, but not before the accused student was punished with a suspension. In his ruling, Judge Thomas Anderle chastised Vasquez and her colleagues for violating the student’s due process rights and ordered the university to lift the suspension against him. This story demonstrates one of the fundamental reasons why Betsy DeVos is correct in seeking to overhaul the Obama Administration’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter.
dailywire.com By Elliot Hamilton
Nearly 60 Democratic legislators tweeted criticism of Education Secretary Betsy Devos’ speech, which advocated a fairer approach and more respect for due process in campus Title IX tribunals. The preferred adjectives included “terrible,” “despicable,” “insulting, “perverse,” “appalling,” “disgraceful,” “shameful,” and “dangerous. No congressional Democrat, in any way, praised her remarks, which insisted on the rights of both accusers and accused.
mindingthecampus.org By KC Johnson
A day after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos cited Matt Boermeester’s expulsion from USC as an example of a “failed system” for handling sexual assaults on college campuses, the former Trojans kicker lost a bid to return to school. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Amy D. Hogue stayed the expulsion Friday — but barred the man from enrolling in classes or coming within 100 yards of campus. “I have a hunch the order doesn’t make anybody happy,” Hogue said. Matt’s girlfriend, Zoe Katz issued a statement calling USC’s investigation “horrible and unjust” and has remained adamant in two declarations filed in court that she has “never been abused, assaulted or otherwise mistreated by Matt.”..This is a solution that attempts to cut the baby in half while killing the baby,” Matt’s attorney Mark Hathaway told the court.
latimes.com By Nathan Fenno
Two years ago, Miami University in Ohio, convicted one of its male students of sexual assault and banned him from the university. “John Nokes” as court documents refer to him, subsequently filed suit against the university, claiming he was denied his due process rights. A federal judge has now ruled in favor of his appeal. A week later, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made a speech announcing the reversal of Obama-era changes to federal law regarding campus sexual assault. One would be hard-pressed to find a better illustration of the need for that reversal than how Miami University found John Nokes guilty of sexual assault. His is an appalling example of due process being suspended. Due process always counts and should never be suspended, for any higher purpose.
Two Nashville lawsuits reflect a new chapter in the debate over how colleges respond to sexual assault claims, echoing concerns over Title IX outlined this month by Betsy DeVos. At Belmont U. John Doe was cleared of sexual misconduct but later expelled for being “purposefully untruthful.” Doe’s lawsuit says the woman who accused him of assault was not similarly punished for being “the untruthful party.” And in May, a student identified in court papers as Z.J. sued Vanderbilt University saying he had been wrongfully accused of sexual assault. The Belmont and Vanderbilt lawsuits come in the midst of a sea change involving Title IX.
tennessean.com [SOS disagrees with Tennessean rape stats] CNN “Surveys that get you to one in five or one in four are highly misleading if not fraudulent.”
A male student who says he was falsely accused of sexual assault and kicked out of Northwestern University has filed suit against the university, asserting he was discriminated against by university administrators amid a biased investigative process designed only to side with a female accuser he said twisted a consensual sex act into a rape accusation. ‘John Doe’ is demanding Northwestern reverse its findings and expunge his record, allowing him to resume an academic journey that has been “shattered” by what he says were false accusations brought by a female student angry over a breakup.