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.”
Court Wins & Settlements
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
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
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
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
Nearly three years after a jury acquitted University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson of rape, he’s extracted a $245,000 settlement from the school for its “misconduct” in investigating the rape allegations. Johnson claimed the school violated his due process and civil rights, discriminated against him by sex, showed negligence and destroyed evidence.
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper