There is a strange fiction that dominates American college campuses. It is the belief that America’s most “tolerant,” progressive, and sensitive communities are simultaneously virtual hellholes for marginalized members of the community, justifying emergency extra-constitutional measures designed to end oppression and defend the defenseless. Thus, the federal government hypes false statistics that a staggering 20 percent of female students will be victims of sexual assault. Thus, campuses implement disciplinary practices and policies that deny due process and treat straight men as guilty until proven innocent. And, colleges claim, it’s all necessary. After all, rape and sexual harassment represent life-changing traumas. False accusations and unjust punishment? Well, that’s just a momentary inconvenience – a small price to pay for the cause of social justice… Tell that to the family of Thomas Klocke, a student at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Due Process Rights
Articles relating to due process rights for our College boys
CPI launched an initiative to combat false reports of sexual assault and the overcriminalization of sexual conduct. The program aggregates research on the rate of false accusations of sexual assault, noting that it is the second-most-common crime of which people are wrongfully convicted. The program places particular emphasis on the state of due process protections for those who are accused of sexual assault on college campuses. washingtontimes.com By Bradford Richardson
About one new due process lawsuit per week was filed last year against a college by a student who had been found guilty of sexual assault by a campus tribunal, despite what the lawsuits claim is strong evidence of innocence. The strongest federal appellate win for an accused student was issued unanimously by an all-Democratic-appointed panel. And the biggest appellate loss for an accused came a few months later, from a unanimous panel that included two George W. Bush appointees. Those two decisions are bookends for the diverse approaches that different judges have taken to the civil liberties of accused students, mostly males, whose fates are decided by campus authorities.
washingtonpost.com By Johnson and Taylor
Professors dispute negative tenure decisions all the time, but rarely do their cases end up in court. That’s because pursuing a legal case against an institution is time-consuming and costly and, most importantly, courts nearly always defer to colleges’ and universities’ initial judgments.
Not so though with an ongoing case at Cornell University. A state judge in November ruled that the university had so bungled a tenure review that he vacated the original decision against the professor in question and ordered a new one. Judge Rich blasted Cornell for ignoring its own rules and acting “capriciously… “The professor was entitled to due process. Cornell speaks of a level playing field but keeping the allegations secret from Vengalattore while having those allegations sour his tenure review creates anything but a level playing field and was arbitrary and capricious,”
San Diego State University has agreed to pay $10,000 and take other steps to settle a lawsuit filed by a former student who said he was suspended and wrongly accused of sexual assault. Besides the monetary award, the settlement states three employees would be sent to a Civil Rights Investigator Training and Certification course. Attorney Lombardo, who represented Sousa in his first lawsuit against SDSU, said the request for training was an attempt to prevent others from being wrongly accused. “If they’re going to identify an offender, they need to do it in a measured, thoughtful and methodical way,” he said. Sousa said he did not seek a large monetary settlement because he did not want taxpayers burdened with the cost. “No amount of money can compensate for what I went through,” he said. “My main objective was to vindicate my name.”
More than 150 lawsuits brought by students accused of sexual misconduct who allege they were denied basic fairness in campus proceedings have been filed since 2011. Two recent rulings illustrate how malleable and susceptible to varying interpretations the law in this area is, leading to a mixed bag of results for plaintiffs. Some judges are deeply reluctant to interfere in universities’ internal disciplinary systems and will defer to universities even when the circumstances would likely strike most people as outrageous. Other judges are more willing to allow accused students’ lawsuits to move forward, at least beyond the initial pleadings and into the discovery phase. Today, we will look at one of each of those cases.
www.thefire.org Samantha Harris
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
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
The complaints continue to roll in. Five new federal lawsuits have been filed alleging unfair treatment in campus sexual misconduct proceedings. In one important ruling, an Ohio federal judge allowed several of an Ohio State University (OSU) student’s due process claims to survive a motion to dismiss, even holding that several OSU administrators might not be entitled to qualified immunity on those claims.
thefire.org By Samantha Harris
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