A federal court says a public university in Virginia violated a student’s right to due process by punishing him severely after exonerating him of rape allegations. The university’s five-and-a-half year suspension of Doe only happened after his accuser, “Jane Roe,” appealed a finding in his favor. The U.S. Constitution does not allow an accused person to be tried again after exoneration, known as double jeopardy, but the practice was forced on colleges by the Department of Education’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter.
thecollegefix.com By Kayla Schierbecker
Court Wins & Settlements
A Connecticut state court judge rebuffed Central Connecticut State University’s attempt to use FERPA to deny an accused student access to evidence against him. The decision is a shot across the bow for schools considering invoking FERPA to withhold police records during disciplinary proceedings even though FERPA explicitly excludes law enforcement records from being withheld. The university’s distorted interpretation of FERPA is noteworthy because it perversely construed the statute, which was designed to protect students’ rights, to require the denial of one of the most fundamental due process rights of the accused-the right to present a defense.
www.thefire.org By Zach Greenberg
Judge Elizabeth Dillon proved that some campus procedures are just too outrageous to survive judicial review. The judge’s due process ruling came in a case out of James Madison University. The case illustrates the effects of an often-overlooked effect of the 2011 Dear Colleague letter-the requirement that colleges allow accusers to appeal not-guilty findings…this double-jeopardy principle creates an additional layer of injustice. “No reasonable jury,” [Judge Dillon] concluded, “could find the accused student was given fundamentally fair process. Instead, the undisputed facts show that JMU denied him a ‘meaningful hearing.’”
www.mindingthecampus.org By KC Johnson
As discussed in more detail below, the court will grant Doe’s motion for summary judgment as to liability, concluding that Doe had a protected property interest in his continued enrollment at JMU and that he was deprived of that interest without due process of law.
In 2014 John Doe was expelled from Swarthmore College, and then sued Swarthmore under Title IX. After John-Doe-vs-Swarthmore was filed Swarthmore said “additional information became available which both parties believe raises questions about the impartiality of the college judiciary committee panel that heard John’s case. On the basis of this new information, John has requested that the college vacate the panel’s findings and sanction. The college agrees that the new information raises sufficient questions about the fairness of the hearing to warrant vacating the panel’s findings and sanction.” After this, the federal judge in the case agreed to a joint motion from the college and the student to dismiss the lawsuit.
2011-2016 will be remembered by many college males as years of being unjustly and unfairly persecuted for innocent actions and words. The constant and aggressive attacks on college males in the form of false accusations is downright shameful. Title IX is often used as an anti-male bully club to deny hundreds of males their college degrees. Even Forbes magazine acknowledges that males are an endangered species on college campuses. These years will also be remembered for turning progressive leaning college males into conservatives for life, my son included.
It is my hope that 2017 will quickly usher in much needed campus sanity, fairness and due process. Starting with the repeal of the 2011 DCL. If you want to be a voice for campus change begin here by telling our President-Elect Donald Trump to repeal the 2011 DCL. https://apply.ptt.gov/yourstory/
Thank you, Alice True
John Doe took University of Oregon to court alleging he’d been wrongly punished after an unfair disciplinary process. Judge Conover ruled, “In this case I do find, based on my position here, that the procedural protections were not properly afforded to John Doe.” Judge Conover also said that UO may not launch new disciplinary proceedings against the accused student in connection with the alleged incident. Doe’s lawyer Ms. Hoffman asserted in court filings that her client passed four polygraph tests that established he was truthful when he denied having had any sexual contact with the alleged victim on the night in question, and that the young woman’s accusations “were false and were intended to garner sympathy and attention from her ex-boyfriend.”
registerguard.com By Jack Moran
After months of litigation, a tentative settlement has been reached between Erica Kinsman and falsely accused Jameis Winston. In 2014, a retired state Supreme Court justice who presided over an FSU code of conduct hearing cleared Winston of four violations. Investigations by the Tallahassee Police Department and State Attorney’s Office ended with no charges brought against Winston. Attorneys for both sides said the case was “resolved to the satisfaction of the parties”.
tampabay.com By Matt Baker
Complaints and Rulings for Drake University, Washington State University and University of Cincinnati…A complaint filed last week against Drake University in Iowa includes an intriguing argument. Like most such suits against private universities, it claims that Drake breached its contract with the student-plaintiff and discriminated against him on the basis of sex in violation of Title IX. But in addition, it argues that the university was-by virtue of coercive federal pressure-a state actor at the time of the incident, and as such, deprived the plaintiff of his constitutional due process rights.
thefire.org By Samantha Harris
Rulings for Lynn University, UC San Diego, and William Paterson University…Universities increasingly rely heavily on investigators rather than hearings to determine responsibility in sexual misconduct cases. The dangers of combining in a single individual the power to investigate, prosecute, and convict, with little effective power of review, are obvious. No matter how well-intentioned, such a person may have preconceptions and biases, may make mistakes, and may reach premature conclusions. These “single investigator” systems raise significant due process concerns, articulated perfectly by Judge Dennis Saylor in the Doe v. Brandeis decision:
thefire.org By Samantha Harris
Brown University botched a sexual-assault hearing, treating an accused male student unfairly, a U.S. District Court ruled. Court records illustrate how ill-equipped the Title IX panel was to make such a major decision. With as few as five hours of training, they make determinations that can ruin someone’s life and reputation. John Doe claimed the accusations against him were fabricated, offering the investigator a witness who claimed to have heard Ann Roe and a friend conspiring to get him in trouble. The investigator decided not to get text messages between Roe and her friend, but told the Title IX panel that there was “insufficient evidence” to support Doe’s conspiracy claim. That was “particularly problematic,” the district court decided, “given that she had refused to ask for evidence that might have proven it so and been exculpatory to Doe.”