On Monday Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary H. Strobel ordered Pomona College to dismiss the college’s findings and two-semester suspension of an accused male student, finding that Pomona College’s Title IX disciplinary process unlawfully denied the student a fair hearing.
Last July, Pomona College found the accused student responsible for sexual misconduct and issued the suspension following a campus hearing, which the female accuser refused to attend. On July 26, 2016, John Doe, as the wrongfully accused student is identified in court records, appealed Pomona College’s Title IX action to the California Superior Court, and named Samuel D. Glick, Chairman of the Pomona College Board of Trustees, Miriam Feldblum, Dean of Students, and Darren Mooko, Pomona College’s Title IX Coordinator and Diversity Officer as respondents. In August 2016, Judge Strobel ordered Pomona College to stay the suspension pending a final ruling on John Doe’s appeal, which has now been issued against Pomona College.
In her final ruling, Judge Strobel expressed particular concern about Pomona College’s denial of the accused student’s right to question the complainant at a hearing, in light of last year’s Court of Appeal decision involving the University of California, San Diego, Doe v. Regents of the University of California (2016) 5 Cal.App.5th 1055.
“Pomona College’s Title IX investigation process has been devastating for the student and his entire family,” said Mark Hathaway, attorney for John Doe. “Pomona College presumed him guilty from the start and discounted evidence that he was the victim and wrongfully accused by a female student from another college. John Doe is glad to finally have vindication.”
Court Rulings & Settlements
Drake University is one step closer to settlement negotiations with a student it expelled after a female student accused him of sexual assault but admitted that she assaulted him. The private institution in Iowa lost its motion to dismiss a Title IX claim against the university and its board of trustees brought by Thomas Rossley Jr., who has a learning disability for which he takes multiple medications…The order is not related to the “Title IX retaliation” lawsuit against Drake filed in February by Rossley’s father Tom, who served on the university’s board for 23 years before pleading for his son internally during the Title IX adjudication. Drake violated state law in forcing him to resign, Rossley claimed.
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
A Penn State pre-med student is accusing the university of trying to circumvent a federal judge’s order and throw him out of school. John Doe, makes the allegation in a motion filed Friday in U.S. Middle District Court seeking to have two university’s administrators held in civil contempt of court. Last August, John Doe succeeded in court and obtained a preliminary injunction to prevent a one-semester suspension. But then PSU withdrew the panel’s finding of responsibility and sanctions. Penn State wants to retrying Doe before a new Title IX panel on Oct. 25. Doe accuses the university and the other defendants in his lawsuit of having a goal to have him “once again removed through a fatally flawed and biased process.”
pennlive.com By John Beauge
Since April 2011, at least 188 students accused of sexual misconduct at universities around the country have brought lawsuits alleging that they were unfairly treated in their schools’ adjudication processes. As I’ve noted in the past, these lawsuits typically include one or more of the following three claims: 1) denial of constitutional due process rights (at public universities); 2) sex discrimination in violation of Title IX; and 3) breach of contract. Traditionally, courts have deferred to universities’ judgment, but as these cases have proliferated over the past few years, a number of courts recognize the unusually high stakes and have held that schools must offer at least the most basic elements of a fair procedure before labeling students as sex offenders.
thefire.org By Samantha Harris
University of North Carolina football player Allen Artis hit it off with Delaney Robinson. That night they had sex — that is not in dispute. Much else would be though, after she lodged a rape accusation. Most of the case remained out of public view until it was resolved this summer. Police, court and campus documents obtained by RealClearInvestigations, as well as exclusive interviews offer a rare inside look at the complex dynamics of sexual assault accusations and justice on American campuses. They illuminate a dense and murky landscape where the “he said, she said” vagaries of sexual consent are exacerbated not only by drugs and alcohol but politically charged campus rape-response procedures.
realclearinvestigations.com By Ashe Schow
A federal appeals court upheld blocking a university’s suspension of a male student who argues he was completely denied his right to confront a female student accusing him of sexual assault. The court ruling said with the “he said/she said” nature of the case, UC officials needed to provide fundamental fairness to a state university student facing long-term exclusion… “What is most important as the Department of Education reconsiders the guidance provided to schools is the Court’s recognition that due process is in the interest of both the accused and the accuser,” Attorney Josh Engel said. “In this case, the court found that the ability to confront one’s accuser is important not merely because it aids in the defense by an accused student, but because it allows the school to better get at the truth of accusations.” Engel said this was the first time an appeals court has ruled that a college or university violated an accused student’s right to confront the accuser.
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
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.