On Sept. 7, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos took on one of former President Barack Obama’s most controversial regulatory actions: a set of 2011 campus disciplinary procedures for students accused of sexual assault. DeVos said [Obama’s] system “is shameful, it is wholly un-American, and it is anathema to the system of self-governance to which our Founders pledged their lives over 240 years ago.”
time.com By Stuart Taylor Jr.
Monthly Archives: October 2017
A William Paterson University police detective, Ellen DeSimone, ordered the arrest of two male students accused of sex assault. A federal appeals court recently ruled that DeSimone must first prove the reasonableness of the arrests before she can be determined immune. The judge stated. “Deciding whether DeSimone acted reasonably requires a determination of facts concerning what DeSimone knew when she sought the warrant and whether that knowledge would have caused a reasonable officer to investigate further. To resolve that issue, we need more facts.”
FULL STORY BELOW:
A Jane Doe filed charges against her William Paterson University classmates, Collick and Williams, claiming they sexually assaulted her. The two were arrested, but a New Jersey grand jury declined to indict them, according to Third Circuit Judge Jane R. Roth’s opinion.
Collick and Williams sued the university, its police department, and detective Ellen DeSimone for alleged violations of Title IX, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the state constitution, and the Fourth, Fifth and 14th amendments.
The trial court held that DeSimone was not protected by qualified immunity on the Fourth Amendment claim because there were not enough facts to support the assertion that the defendants did not violate the plaintiffs’ rights. The Third Circuit agreed.
“We have reviewed the pleadings and heard oral argument. We agree with the district court’s conclusion that it could not grant qualified immunity to DeSimone on the Fourth Amendment claim,” Roth said. “Our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence establishes that DeSimone’s entitlement to qualified immunity depends on the objective reasonableness of her actions at the time she applied for the arrest warrants.”
The judge continued, “Deciding whether DeSimone acted reasonably requires a determination of facts concerning what DeSimone knew when she sought the warrant and whether that knowledge would have caused a reasonable officer to investigate further. To resolve that issue, we need more facts.”
Roth said that discovery may show that DeSimone acted reasonably by not investigating further steps after she received Doe’s report or that DeSimone made no pertinent omissions in her warrant applications. Or it might show the opposite, Roth said—the point being, those facts were not available to the district judge.
Michael J. Epstein who represented the plaintiffs, said he was pleased with the decision and that the lawsuit was aimed at clearing his clients’ names. “Given the amount of time that’s passed we’re not trying to get them back into the college but we’re trying to get their records cleared,” he said.
www.law.com By P.J. Dannunzio
The Obama administration warned colleges against cross-examining students who claim they were victims of sexual misconduct, but judges who hear the lawsuits of accused students don’t seem to agree. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge told Pomona College it deprived an accused student of a “fair hearing” by finding him responsible with no opportunity to submit questions to his accuser, and ordered it to remove his two-semester suspension.
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
The Trump administration appears to have tapped a longtime critic of the federal government’s role in education policy for a job at the Education Department. Hans Bader, who until last week served as senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, will be joining DoED’s Office of General Counsel.
Many times throughout history societies cast aside the idea of due process, such as during the Salem witch trials and the 1980s and ’90s satanic day care scares. In each case, those accused were not given a proper chance to defend themselves, and society was told to “believe the victim.” But due process appears to be making a comeback. Accused students have been racking up settlements with their universities, DeVos rescinded the Obama-era anti due process Title IX guidance, and California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation mentioning due process concerns as his reason for vetoing.
thefederalist.com By Ashe Schow
Four women met late last month at a restaurant in a Twin Cities. Each had a son who had been accused at college of sexual assault. One was expelled and another suspended. The other two were cleared, yet one had contemplated suicide and the other was so crushed he had not returned to school. Some of the mothers met with Ms. DeVos in July to tell their stories, and Ms. DeVos alluded to them in a speech she gave last month.
nytimes.com By Hartocollis & Capecchioct
A sophomore pre-med student’s contention that two Penn State administrators should be held in contempt for trying to circumvent a federal judge’s order is meritless and should be denied, the university says…Doe contends Danny Shaha, interim assistant vice president for student affairs, and Karen Feldbaum, interim director of the Office of Student Conduct, should be found in contempt of the August order. Doe cites a Sept. 25 email from Shaha notifying him that a Title IX panel’s June finding that he violated the Student Code of Conduct and the sanctions it imposed had been withdrawn and that he would be retried Wednesday before a new panel. [Notice how ‘interim’ staff are ruining males before these ‘interim’ folks move on to the next college and do their male damage..SOS]
pennlive.com By John Beauge
Yale was under federal investigation from April to September of this year after an alumnus filed a complaint with the federal Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights alleging that the University discriminated against him in its Title IX procedures because he was a man. The case alleges “John Doe,” first experienced discrimination in the fall of 2013 after he submitted an essay that included a discussion of the impulses that might drive someone to commit rape. A teaching assistant reported him to Yale’s Title IX office. Yale then prohibited Doe from contacting the TA and required him to attend sensitivity training. After Doe graduated in May 2015, Doe filed complaints both in federal district court and with the regional OCR branch in Boston alleging that Yale had violated his Title IX rights. On April 17, 2017, it became one of the first civil rights violation cases taken up by the Department of Education under President Donald Trump.
yaledailynews By Sweedler and Schick
Both the [alleged] victim of an off-campus sexual assault and the man accused of [allegedly] attacking her have sued the University of Idaho, claiming the university botched their case. The assault in February 2016 was never referred to police, but U of I officials did sanction the man for his actions after a series of hearings and appeals. Both lawsuits claim the situation has caused ongoing problems with each plaintiff’s subsequent employment or education.
idahostatesman.com By Poppino and Sewell
The “Yes Means Yes” bill was a big deal when Jerry Brown, the governor of California, signed it into law in 2014. It made California the first state to pass an “affirmative consent” law requiring all parties to get consent for each touch each time; silence can not be interpreted as consent. Now, it seems, Brown is not so certain about what has been wrought. This week, in an unexpected move, Brown vetoed a new bill that would have broadened the definitions and rules regarding alleged sexual misconduct for students attending California colleges and universities. Brown wrote he could not endorse the bill because of troubling concerns that have arisen in recent years. He noted that since he signed Yes Means Yes, “thoughtful legal minds have increasingly questioned whether federal and state actions to prevent and redress sexual harassment and assault—well-intentioned as they are—have also unintentionally resulted in some colleges’ failure to uphold due process for accused students.”
theatlantic.com By Emily Yoffe