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 Rulings & Settlements
The student, known only in his court case as John Doe, had not been “convicted” of anything, but rather held “responsible” for sexual misconduct by a university tribunal, a finding that the judge vacated last week while blasting the email campaign…”having read a few of the emails, it is abundantly clear that the writers, while passionate, were woefully ignorant about the issues before the Court.” The court found other flaws in the process as well, including the university’s failure to allow the man to introduce evidence that he believed was exculpatory.
washingtonpost.com By Fred Barbash
A University of Cincinnati graduate student, will be allowed to resume classes this spring after a federal judge’s decision rescinded a one-year suspension imposed by the university. The male graduate student alleged the university violated due process and Title IX in how it handled the investigation and ruling of the case against him. The student’s lawyer, Josh Engel, said the key to Judge Michael Barrett’s decision is “the recognition that students in this situation have a right to confront their accuser.”
cincinnati.com By Kate Murphy
Denison University settled a lawsuit with a former student who sued after being expelled over a sexual assault allegation. A female student who was drinking accused a freshman of assaulting her. According to the young man he walked her home safely, and according to SOS, his Good Samaritan actions got him falsely accused by an embarrassed young girl who was drunk. The young male was expelled following a student disciplinary hearing. The falsely accused male filed suit alleging libel, defamation, negligence and infliction of emotional distress, among other things, and said he was illegally prohibited from using an attorney and presenting evidence or testimony of his innocence.
Denison’s vice president for student development, said that she “cannot confirm that a settlement has been reached, but we can confirm that the case has been dismissed in the courts.” Clarifying, she stated, “The matter was resolved by mutual agreement and together we sought dismissal by the court.”
The falsely accused’s attorney, Eric Rosenberg, said there was a settlement but the case is officially recorded as dismissed because of semantics.
Eric Rosenberg has a growing number of lawsuits filed by young college males who are expelled following campus judicial proceedings. “I’d like to convey to students the risk of being involved with women who have been drinking…. because later she may say she was sexually assaulted.”
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
Sacred Heart University has issued a letter of apology to a local man for wrongly posting his name and photograph on leaflets. The letter of apology is part of his settlement of a $1 million defamation lawsuit against the Fairfield school. His attorney Thomas Ganim, confirmed that a settlement in the Superior Court lawsuit had been reached but declined comment on the details, citing a confidentiality agreement with the university.
www.ctpost.com By Daniel Tepfer
A University of North Carolina football player was falsely accused by Delaney Robinson last year. An attorney for Allen Artis the athlete, says the university’s Title IX compliance coordinator found no violation of the school’s sexual misconduct policy after conducting a thorough investigation.
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
Last month, Patricia Hamill filed a lawsuit against the University of Notre Dame on behalf of “John Doe” alleging that Notre Dame unfairly expelled him just a few weeks before he was slated to take his last two finals and graduate. After filing his suit, Doe moved for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction permitting him to take his last two finals. Doe’s efforts were successful, and the court granted his preliminary injunction. Last week, Judge Simon ordered Notre Dame to administer Doe’s last two finals, minimizing the disruption to Doe’s education should his suit succeed. While Doe raised several claims in his complaint, the opinion only discusses Doe’s breach of contract claim. While the entire opinion is worth a read, particularly for due process litigators, I’d like to focus on two particular issues: the right to active counsel and a plaintiff’s choice of remedies.
thefire.org By Brynne Madway
College settlements with the wrongly accused take place more than you know. But 95% of the time settlement terms demand confidentiality, and insist that counsel remain silent. Luckily this is not the situation with Lynn… Lynn University decided not to take its chances with a jury after a federal judge gave the green light to a lawsuit against it by a student accused of rape. One day ahead of a scheduled hearing on Lynn’s motion for summary judgment, the university reached a confidential settlement with Doe according to his lawyer Angel Castillo.
thecollegefix.com By Kaitlynn Critchfield