Three Minnesota football players have been cleared of sexual harassment allegations in the final round of appeals at the school and will be allowed to return to spring practice. “These couple of months have been nothing short of a nightmare for me and I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me and shown nothing but love,” Winfield posted on Twitter. “Today I have officially been cleared and I am excited to tear up the field for my brothers and my gopher fans.”
reviewjournal.com By Jon Krawczynski
Court Wins & Settlements
AMHERST JUDGE: Male student expelled for sexual assault may have been victim himself
CALIFORNIA JUDGE: Disparity in campus tribunal ‘enough to shock the Court’s conscience’
CORNELL: Caused ‘actual harm’ to student accused of sexual assault
COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY PUEBLO: School’s sexual assault proceeding suggests ‘bias and inaccuracy’
OHIO JUDGE: Accused students have right to cross-examination
watchdog By Ashe Schow
San Diego State University violated “procedural fairness” by refusing to let a student accused of rape have an advocate “with the same or substantially similar skills, training and experience” as his accuser’s advocate. In essence, the accused was left to defend himself while his accuser was able to utilize the services of a “skillful, trained and experienced advocate,” the very person who investigated the case. The Court wonders how, given Petitioner’s youth, infant stages of his post-secondary education and the seriousness of the charges, Petitioner was able to conduct himself as well as he did. Judges have traditionally given schools wide latitude to fashion their own campus judicial systems, but colleges have abused their autonomy, and judges are starting to re-impose the rule of law.
nationalreview By David French
Of all the campus cases since the Dear Colleague letter, the Amherst case is the worst. This case featured a student (JD) who not only could use his accuser’s own words to prove his innocence, but could demonstrate from the college’s own findings that he was, plausibly, a sexual assault victim—and yet the college culminated a biased process by expressing disinterest in his evidence. If Amherst could get this lawsuit dismissed, it would be hard to imagine any set of facts in which an accused student could be certain of prevailing. On Tuesday, however, Judge Mark Mastroianni, an Obama appointee, allowed the lawsuit to proceed. There’s little reason to believe that Mastroianni was eager to make this decision. This is a judge who didn’t appear ideologically inclined to side with the accused student. (In a case at UMass, he sided with the university, despite ample grounds for doubting UMass’ fairness)
San Diego State University violated “procedural fairness” by refusing to let a student accused of rape have an advocate “with the same or substantially similar skills, training and experience” as his accuser’s advocate, ruled California Judge Wohlfeil. Wohlfeil also denounced the university’s “well-intentioned, but deeply flawed, administrative system to investigate and review complaints of student misconduct,” which stacks the deck against accused students. “The disparity of these circumstances is enough to shock the Court’s conscience,” the judge wrote.
A federal judge refused to dismiss most claims from a former Colorado State student who accuses the school of gender bias in suspending him and stripping him of his athletic scholarships after what he calls a false accusation of rape. Grant Neal sued Colorado State University, Pueblo on eight causes of action, including breach of contract, breach of faith, violations of Title IX and due process, and procedural matters. The school had suspended him and took away his wrestling and football scholarships. U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig Shaffer wrote that the school’s investigation was wrought with “bias and inaccuracy.”
courthousenews By Emma Gannon
A judge has ruled that Cornell acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner by refusing to follow its own anti-discrimination policy, which caused the male accused student “actual harm.” Even though both students’ claims should have been investigated per Cornell policy, only Jane’s was looked into. John alleged in his complaint against Cornell that the investigator looking into Jane’s claims showed a clear bias against him. For example, the investigator asked “misleading, prejudicial and slanted questions only of John Doe,” and refused to require Jane and her witnesses to preserve and produce text messages that could have helped John’s complaint against Jane.
watchdog.org By Ashe Schow
Judge Orlando Hudson issued a ruling on a preliminary injunction allowing a suspended men’s soccer player to remain at Duke. “He selected Duke,” argued his attorney “When he came to Duke after doing that research and deciding on Duke, he agreed that he would play soccer for them and live by their rules. And Duke has to live by the rules too.” Judge Hudson responds: “I also agree that he has established and carried his proof on his claims that his hearings were fundamentally unfair, the mandatory injunction will be allowed.”
dukechronicle.com By Frances Beroset
The University of Minnesota panel cleared four students, eased the sanctions on one player and upheld the punishments for the other five. “Green, McCrary, Shenault and Winfield Jr. are very pleased to be vindicated by the panel’s rulings,” attorney Hutton said. “The allegations against them were unwarranted and could have greatly harmed their bright futures. They look forward to putting this incident behind them and moving ahead in their academic and athletic pursuits.” Hennepin County authorities twice declined to charge any of the players, citing a lack of evidence, but Title IX accusation hearings carry a significant lower burden of proof.
A lawsuit was filed in November 2015 by the UVA chapter of Phi Psi and has been in limbo while Dean Eramo’s lawsuit moved forward. An attorney for Phi Psi said Monday they’re seeking a “broader area of inquiry” than what was requested by Eramo, and a judge has again ruled that Jackie must comply with a subpoena to turn over documents relating to the case…Jackie’s claims about a gang rape fell apart once it was discovered that the man she allegedly had a date with on that night didn’t exist. Numerous doubts began to emerge, leading to a retraction from Rolling Stone, an investigation of what went wrong from by Columbia Journalism Review, and three lawsuits.
watchdog.org By Ashe Schow