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.
Court Rulings & Settlements
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.
A student who claims the University of Notre Dame wrongly expelled him in April- by conflating suicidal texts to a former romantic partner with “dating violence” – has found a sympathetic ear in federal court. In a motion for “partial summary judgment” last month, Doe sought relief based on “undisputed facts” that show the university violated his due process rights. The three-page letter requests that U.S. District Judge Philip Simon “hold as a matter of law that Notre Dame has breached its contract with Plaintiff.” The Catholic university’s chances of getting out of the lawsuit unscathed look questionable. It has met with attorneys for “John Doe” twice since July, in a “settlement conference.”
thecollegefix.com By Kayla Schierbecker
A federal judge recently ordered the public university to let “John Nokes” back on campus, lift his punishments (save for a no-contact order) and not release his real name, as Nokes’ lawsuit against the public university continues. Miami University may be in a mood to settle, and not just because U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett shredded its adjudication procedures for failing the most basic rules of fairness – notably, the opportunity to cross-examine “adverse witnesses.” The university also has already drawn a warning from Barrett for violating the rules of his court
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
In the midst of a national controversy over US Department of Education Title IX directives, a federal judge recently ruled to allow a male student’s Title IX lawsuit against Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to move forward. The plaintiff, John Doe, was a sophomore at CWRU when he was wrongfully accused of sexual misconduct and suspended for three years. CWRU failed to provide a fair and unbiased investigation of the encounter, resulting in the violation of Title IX and John Doe’s fourteenth amendment rights to due process. The university failed to avoid conflicts of interest by having one employee pursue both the investigation and adjudication of John Doe; this Title IX staffer had written her doctoral dissertation on “The Dangerous Reality: Sexual Risk Taking Among College Women.”
prnewswire.com Nesenoff and Miltenberg, LLP
The Claremont Independent uncovered a March court order that found Sandra Vasquez (New Dean and Title IX Coordinator at Pitzer College) hid “material evidence” from a male falsely accused of “relationship violence” when she was associate dean of students and director of judicial affairs at the University of California-Santa Barbara. The Independent said it also learned the Dept. of ED is investigating Vasquez’s alleged discrimination against the “low-income, minority student” as potential Title IX and Title VI violations. Superior Court Judge Thomas Anderle’s order against UCSB makes Vasquez and other officials who handled the “John Doe” case sound almost like cartoon villains.
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
A U.S. district court judge has ruled former Liberty University football player Cameron Jackson can move forward with seven of the 18 claims in his lawsuit filed against the school and other defendants. The lawsuit seeks approximately $100 million in compensation for damages to Jackson’s academic and athletic career, as well as to his reputation. The lawsuit casts doubts on the accuser’s charges and alleges she acted maliciously, the response of Liberty and its employees was inept and that staff did not protect Jackson from on-campus harassment aimed at him by other LU students, which caused Jackson to stop attending classes.
newsadvance.com By Josh Moody