Lawyers representing a former Purdue student have appealed a judge’s November decision to dismiss the lawsuit he filed against Purdue after an internal university investigation of a sexual assault allegation against him resulted in his expulsion. The former Purdue student and Navy ROTC member sued Purdue as plaintiff John Doe, in January 2017, claiming that Purdue violated his constitutional right to due process. His lawyers argued that Purdue’s investigation of the alleged incident was flawed and assumed a position predisposed to the plaintiff’s guilt.
The fight for due process has never really gone away. Today, the most serious attack on our right to be treated fairly under the law is executed outside of the realm of politics and the courtroom, in the kangaroo court of moral-panic feminism and on the more intolerant sections of social media… The point about due process is that it treats people like human beings. It recognizes that no matter how important it might be to ‘speak out’ about sexual violence, the fact is that at the heart of an allegation there is both the accuser and the accused, and both deserve fair treatment. The rise of hashtag justice speaks to a society that is moving away from its humanity. If you do not consider people to be worthy of a fair hearing, you are unlikely to consider them to be capable of redemption.
spiked-online.com By Luke Gittos
Princeton’s Title IX proceedings offer less procedural fairness and fewer due process protections than the Honor system does. The Honor Committee utilizes a higher burden of proof to determine if a violation has occurred than does the Title IX panel. The Honor Committee also requires that a higher percentage of its members vote to find a student responsible for the student to be convicted than does Title IX. FIRE recently issued a report on due process that gave Princeton a ‘D’ rating for the lack of due process and fairness in its handling of sexual misconduct cases. For all of the same arguments about fairness, justice, and the possibility of disparate impacts on different University populations that students made in favor of Honor Code reform, the fundamental unfairness of Princeton’s Title IX proceedings is deeply troubling.
Ohio’s Oberlin College boasts a conviction rate for students accused of sexual assault that would make Vladimir Putin blush. A lawsuit filed last year by a student expelled from Oberlin reveals that every student who went through the college’s formal sexual assault adjudication process was found responsible on at least one count. William A. Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School said the conviction rate “calls into question whether Oberlin’s sexual assault hearings amounted to nothing more than show trials in which the accused were presumed guilty.”
washingtontimes.com By Bradford Richardson
EXTRA EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! Judge Approves Groundbreaking Title IX Retaliation Lawsuit Against Drake
Press Release: In a first-of-its-kind Title IX retaliation case, a former 23 year member of the Board of Trustees of Drake University won the ability to move forward in his lawsuit against Drake University and its Board of Trustees for retaliating against him after he spoke out against the University’s improper conduct, including the wrongful sexual assault investigation of his disabled son.
Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger for the Southern District of Iowa last week allowed the case to move forward with the following charges against Drake University and its Board of Trustees: violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, breach of fiduciary responsibilities, breach of contract, and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, the case is also proceeding under the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Rehabilitation Act.
According to the complaint, Drake University openly discriminated against and targeted its disabled students and, together with its Board of Trustees, instituted a concerted attack on all those who dared speak out for the rights of Drake University’s students, including the plaintiff, Tom Rossley. The lawsuit describes how Mr. Rossley experienced first-hand Drake University’s wrongful treatment of disabled students when the school maliciously withheld necessary accommodations from his disabled son. As a result of his advocacy for his son and Drake University students, the Board, with the support of the University President, removed Mr. Rossley from the Board of Trustees.
“Drake University and its Board of Trustees will not succeed in silencing Tom Rossley in his advocacy for his son and other Drake students,” said Rossley’s attorney Andrew Miltenberg. “We are gratified by the judge’s decision and we will continue to pursue justice for this family, whose lives have been irreparably harmed by the unlawful, discriminatory actions of Drake University and its Board of Trustees.”
The plaintiff’s son also filed a lawsuit against Drake University in federal court in December of 2016, charging that the school violated Title IX equal protection clause, his rights to due process, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case state’s that the University wrongfully expelled the student and refused to investigate his simultaneous charge that his female accuser sexually assaulted him on the same night of the alleged incident—even considering her own admission that she initiated in sexual conduct without his consent.
Additionally, the University failed to properly accommodate the student’s ADHD, anxiety, and language-based learning disabilities during the disciplinary process, despite the fact that Drake University is home to the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement, which lists advocacy for people with disabilities as one of its primary areas of focus. According to the lawsuit, officials at Drake University took advantage of the student’s language-based disability in order to railroad him out of the University. The student’s lawsuit was upheld by the same federal judge in August and is moving forward with discovery.
Questions? Contact Jeanette Hoffman (908) 418-0859
Chemistry professor Catherine Woytowicz is suing George Washington University after it allegedly subjected her to a malicious sexual harassment investigation. Woytowicz was accused of Title IX sexual harassment by a male student and the accusations “were later found to be unfounded.” According to the complaint, Title IX Coordinator Rory Muhammad kept a notebook of the accusations against Woytowicz, and when she asked to see it during the meeting, Muhammad held the notebook above her head and seemed to ‘delight in this, as if playing a child’s game of keep away’. Woytowicz claims that the University’s handling of the case represented a breach of contract and violated her rights under the First and Fifth Amendments and the D.C. Human Rights Act.
thecollegefix.com By Daniel Payne
L.A. Superior Court Judge Amy Hogue said she is leaning toward denying former USC kicker Matt Boermeester’s petition for reinstatement to USC in the face of a Title IX domestic violence allegation involving his girlfriend, Zoe Katz. Boermeester’s lawyer, Mark Hathaway said a surveillance video of the encounter exonerated his client, and said Katz repeatedly denied making the statements attributed to her and that she and his client walked away from the incident holding hands. He described both Boermeester and Katz as two athletes at the top of their game who are strong physically and mentally.
The University of Maryland Senate recently voted to lower the standard of evidence in student misconduct hearings while simultaneously limiting students’ access to attorneys. Edward Priola, a UMD faculty Senator who voted against the measure, said he has deep reservations about the changes, which he called “a systematic dismantling, from my observation, of due process and the civil rights of students.” Priola says that the SCC sees attorneys as “scary to the students who are sitting on the board of discipline,” and does not want the students who are participating in those disciplinary hearings to be intimidated.
campusreform.org By Adam Sabes
Just before Christmas, a judge overturned the University of Southern California’s 2015 sexual-assault finding against an accused student, deeming him the victim of a process that was not “fair, thorough, reliabl[y] neutral and impartial.” One of the errors made by the private institution? Gretchen Means Title IX coordinator and Patrick Noonan the investigator repeatedly called the male student and his adviser “motherfuckers” after they forgot to hang up on a call with them. Means asked, “Who do these motherfuckers think they are?” and “Does that college motherfucker know who I am?” Both Noonan and Means referred to [Doe] as “motherfuckers.” Noonan and Means also described Roe as “a catch” and expressed, “[She is] so cute and intelligent. What was she doing with that (referencing [Doe])?”…L.A. Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White rebuked USC for having the chutzpah to claim that its system is “comprised of independent decision-makers.”
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
In September 2017 Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that guidelines for how universities should handle reports of sexual assault would change. One of DeVos’ main concerns when announcing the new changes was that previous guidance under the Obama administration denied proper due process to those accused of sexual assault on campuses. Under DeVos, DoED’s new interim guidance allows universities to modify the standard of evidence in campus sexual assault cases. Schools can now go from using preponderance of evidence (the lowest threshold) to a clear and convincing standard (the mid-level threshold) if they so choose. “Washington’s push to require schools to establish these quasi-legal structures to address sexual misconduct comes up short for far too many students…everyone loses.”