This is a big case for the state of Washington. Student Mr. Arishi challenged his expulsion from Washington State University’s (WSU’s) doctoral program in Education, claiming the university failed to afford him a full adjudicative proceeding required by the Washington Administrative Procedure Act. The Court of Appeals agreed. “We reverse the superior court and the underlying agency order, award Mr. Arishi reasonable attorney fees, and remand for a full adjudication.” With this ruling, people accused of sex offenses on college campuses get a full hearing and are allowed to have an attorney speak and question the accuser. This decision is based on Washington law, and will not affect cases in other jurisdictions.
seattletimes.com By Katherine Long
Court Wins & Settlements
The verdict came down in the first defamation case stemming from Rolling Stone’s famously flawed investigation about college rape on the Friday before Election Day. The jury awarded Eramo $3 million in damages: $1 million from Rolling Stone and $2 million from Erdely. A second lawsuit, from the fraternity itself, is scheduled for trial in Virginia state court next fall. Here are some takeaways from the Eramo decision, based on insights from lawyers who followed the case.
cjr.org/analysis By Bill Wyman
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of Cincinnati graduate student, will be allowed to resume classes this spring after a federal judge’s decision rescinded a one-year suspension imposed by the university.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
Joanna Newberry, falsely reported she was assaulted in a campus basement while attending Lindenwood University. She faced up to six months in jail and a $500 fine. This week, Judge Elizabeth Swann issued a suspended imposition of sentence for Newberry and placed her on supervised probation for two years. Ms. Newberry is to continue counseling.
stltoday.com By Mark Schlinkmann
It is with a heavy heart that SOS is posting the following. The California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District has rendered their decision in Doe v. Regents of the University of California. In short, John Doe lost big time…’The judgment is reversed. The matter is remanded to the superior court with orders for the court to enter an order denying the petition for writ of mandamus as well as entering a judgment in favor of the Regents. The Regents are awarded their costs on appeal.’
Washington State defensive lineman Robert Barber has been granted a stay of his suspension and allowed to return to the classroom and football field. Barber’s attorney Stephen Graham’s main argument centered on how WSU’s conduct board destroyed any record of questions Barber and his adviser proposed during Barber’s conduct board hearing. Graham alleged that because WSU did not follow its administrative procedures in destroying the questions and thus, the University Appeals Board did not have a complete record from which to make their decision on Barber’s appeal. “It was a good morning and I think the court did right by him, Robert goes to class tomorrow as an actual, full fledged student, none of this online (classes) second class, not-quite-a-Coug stature.” Graham said.
seattletimes.com By Stephanie Loh
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 jury has awarded $3 million in damages to a former University of Virginia associate dean after finding that a Rolling Stone magazine article sullied her reputation by alleging that she was indifferent to allegations of a gang rape on campus.
washingtonpost.com By T. Rees Shapiro
The 10 member jury concluded that the Rolling Stone reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was responsible for defamation, with actual malice, in the case brought by Nicole Eramo, a U-Va. administrator who oversaw sexual violence cases at the time of the article’s publication. The jury also found the magazine and its publisher responsible for defaming Eramo.
washingtonpost.com By T. Rees Shapiro
“Petitioner has established that he was substantially prejudiced by the Board’s failure to preserve his written cross-examination questions. This failure rendered it difficult, if not impossible, for the University Appeals Board and now the court to determine whether Petitioner was provided with due process and a fair hearing. The court finds that the Board erred as a matter of law by not following prescribed rules for maintaining Petitioner’s cross examination questions…It is hereby ordered the University sanction of expulsion is reversed, and a new hearing on the allegation be held with a new panel.” Whitman County Superior Court Judge