Suspended from athletic competition and facing expulsion over accusations of sexual assault, University of Minnesota basketball player Reggie Lynch on Thursday dropped his appeals and slammed the process as unfair. Lynch was set to be part of an appeals process Thursday in one of two cases. Instead, he told reporters that while he was innocent of the accusations, he said he’d become a “victim of false accusations” and could not get a fair hearing in today’s climate. He said he felt “hopeless and powerless” and there was no way to defend himself. He said he planned to pursue a career in professional basketball. “I did not commit any of the acts that I’m accused of,” said Lynch, adding that he had been truthful to university investigators during the inquiry. “The truth did not set me free, however.” His lawyer, Ryan Pacyga, ripped the university’s appeal process as skewed toward the accusers. Sexual assault victims deserve compassion, justice and fairness, he said, adding, “people accused of sexual assault deserve those very same three things.” In the current environment, he said, “it’s a no-win situation for the accused and it’s not fair. We need to do better. It is a hypocrisy right now.”
mprnews.org By Peter Cox
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thinks colleges and universities are violating the due process rights of students facing sexual misconduct charges. The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Rosen asked the Court’s second-ever female justice for her thoughts…Rosen: What about due process for the accused? Ginsburg: ‘Well, that must not be ignored and it goes beyond sexual harassment. The person who is accused has a right to defend herself or himself, and we certainly should not lose sight of that. There’s been criticism of some college codes of conduct for not giving the accused person a fair opportunity to be heard, and that’s one of the basic tenets of our system, as you know, everyone deserves a fair hearing’..Note that Ginsburg was asked about due process, but not campuses specifically. The fact that she immediately suggested college codes of conduct as an example of a policy that sometimes violates “the basic tenets of our system,” says a great deal about the glaring unfairness of the modern approach to Title IX, the federal statute that requires universities to investigate sexual harassment and assault. And Ginsburg didn’t just make note of the controversy; she explicitly said critics of the current procedures have a point.
reason.com By Robby Soave
The fight for fairness in campus Title IX proceedings is not a slow and steady evolution. It’s a series of Cambrian explosions. The first came in summer 2016 when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a reverse discrimination lawsuit against Columbia University. Another landed Friday in the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstating a similar suit against Miami University of Ohio. The unanimous opinion by Judge Karen Moore says “John Doe” sufficiently pleaded a claim on “erroneous outcome,” and that an official who investigated and sat on his hearing panel “should have known that she was partial” to his accuser and recused herself. The findings have already reversed the fortunes of Vanderbilt University and a male student suing it… And from a tweet by KC Johnson: ‘In addition to Vandy, there are pending suits against Ohio State(2), Case Western Reserve, Dayton, Muskingum, Belmont, Ohio Wesleyan, & Oberlin that could be affected by the Miami decision.
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
There is an entire community of mostly male college students devastated by fake accusations of assault and crappy campus tribunals. In 2013, three mothers founded a non-profit organization called Families Advocating for Campus Equality, or FACE for short. Today, FACE serves as a wealth of information and resources for all wrongly accused students and their families. A quick read through of FACE’s horrifying testimonials reveals lives that have been utterly dismantled by fake accusations. Abuse is abuse. If we stand up for victims—we stand for all victims. And these young men are no doubt the victims of a meddling and unconstitutional campus tribunal system and the liars who bring their accusations to them. It is time for the young men falsely accused of sexual assault to be heard.
theblaze.com By Natasha Pascetta
More than three years after Rolling Stone published the most significant false accusation of rape since the Duke Lacrosse hoax, the saga is officially over for the magazine. The magazine reached a final settlement in late December with the members of the fraternity that were falsely maligned in the story. The details have not been disclosed, but at least two members of the fraternity will be the beneficiary of the settlement. Those who were wronged by the article have received compensation for their suffering, but only Rolling Stone has been punished for its role in the fake story. The magazine itself was punished with a blow to its credibility and the settlements. But, just as in the Duke Lacrosse case, many of the people who enabled the false accusation and unfairly deemed the fraternity as guilty from the start were unharmed by the article.
thefederalist.com By Ashe Schow
Serving on a panel that hears Title IX sexual-assault complaints on college campuses sounds like a full-time job. Faculty and students complete a course on sexual assault, the nuances of consent and trauma-informed questioning. Schools lament that this training is time-consuming and costly, but they have only themselves to blame. Sure, the federal government imposes requirements today, and Obama’s DoED pressured colleges to stack the deck against students accused of sexual harassment or assault by denying them the right to due process, but it was colleges that started us down this road. Disciplinary panels were set up in the ’60s to adjudicate violations of schools’ honor codes, but these panels experienced “mission creep” and started hearing cases of actual crimes.
In 1999, Silverglate & Kors documented how colleges across the country had created disciplinary systems that violated students’ due-process rights. Per Silvergate, “College administrators won’t use the real criminal-justice system because they cannot control it, the process would be fair and hence the desired result could not be guaranteed.” As Taylor and Johnson write in their book The Campus Rape Frenzy, “Nothing in the experience of most academics prepares them to competently investigate an offense that’s a felony in all 50 states.” In 2017, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said, “One person denied due process is too many…Due process either protects everyone, or it protects no one. The notion that a school must diminish due-process rights to better serve the ‘victim’ only creates more victims.”
Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson permanently barred Duke from suspending junior Ciaran McKenna over sexual misconduct claims. McKenna claimed Duke breached its own policy by allowing a second hearing panel to hear the case at all, when instead the appeals panel should have “resolved the case” as specified by university procedure at the time. “The summary judgement motion was about the contract claim, that Duke has a contract with their students and in particular with this student, and that they violated that contract,” said Emilia Beskind, one of McKenna’s lawyers. “The permanent injunction is based on the court’s finding on that claim.” Jay Ferguson, McKenna’s other lawyer, stated that Duke official Janie Long is on record telling a student that an appeals board “will make the final decision” in cases where there’s no need for more testimony. Per Ferguson, Duke officials “didn’t want this court to see” that email, telling Judge Hudson that the university handed it over late in the trial-preparation process after McKenna’s lawyers asked them to confirm its authenticity or see Long called as a witness. Judge Hudson’s ruling effectively decided McKenna’s breach-of-contract lawsuit against Duke ahead of trial, leaving the two sides little more to do but argue about the damages Duke eventually might have to pay McKenna.
Nearly 140 professors and legal experts have endorsed an open letter calling for an immediate end to the use of “victim-centered” and “trauma-informed” practices during TitleIX campus sexual misconduct investigations. The open letter warns that the “believe the victim” ethos and the policies it has inspired “undermine neutrality in campus Title IX disciplinary processes.”..Accused students face a biased system of investigating complaints and conducting trials, argues Moore. “It is a witch’s brew of unfairness to the accused, and this is what motivated me to sign the letter condemning victim-centered investigations.”
A former Coastal Carolina University football player who was expelled after a cheerleader accused him of rape filed a federal lawsuit against the university alleging that he lost his scholarship because of false allegations and a flawed disciplinary system…Their sex story: The football player and the cheerleader were drinking and flirting. He asked her if she wanted to have sex. The cheerleader said yes, but she didn’t want to be seen leaving with him because she had a boyfriend. Later on she accused the football player and he was expelled. The cheerleader then told ‘John Doe’s’ church that he was accused of sexual assault and ‘John’ was banned from volunteering and lost his job working with the church’s summer school programs… Doe’s lawsuit argues that the cheerleader’s actions violate the school’s policy about retaliating against those involved in an investigation. Doe’s lawsuit also accuses Coastal of gender discrimination against men, claiming the school’s policies “are set up to encourage and facilitate the reporting of false reports of sexual misconduct and/or other grievances without any recourse for the falsely accused.” Stating ‘Coastal has created an environment in which an accused male student is effectively denied fundamental due process by being prosecuted through the conduct process under the cloud of a presumption of guilt.” The lawsuit asks that the university’s decision be reversed and the former player be readmitted to Coastal this year. The plaintiff is also seeking damages.
Two men arrested on rape charges after a University of Central Florida fraternity party won’t be prosecuted, and the Greek organization that hosted the event where the incident [allegedly] took place is back in good standing. The accusations against [my client] are false, said attorney, Lyle Mazin. “Simply because someone said something happened doesn’t make it so.”
orlandosentinel.com By Annie Martin