“The problem hasn’t penetrated the public consciousness. People don’t know that a young man can be expelled from college without ever having received specific written notice of what he’s alleged to have done wrong.”…”I have not talked to a single young man who’s been through this who wasn’t suicidal, and you hear people say, ‘Well, if he’s a rapist, he should be suicidal.’ OK, but we don’t know he’s a rapist.”
reason.com By Robby Soave
Since 2011, the federal government has required all universities that receive federal money to provide “training or experience in handling complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence” to adjudicators and investigators. It makes sense to train those who are assigned to investigate campus sexual-assault allegations, but the ideological regimes used on campuses are designed more to stack the deck against accused students than to ensure a fair inquiry. “The biggest problem with these training materials, is that if the accuser comes in, contradicts herself and the evidence, all that gets explained away because of ‘trauma.’ Junk science like that makes it extraordinarily hard for students to defend themselves effectively,” says Justin Dillon, a lawyer who has defended dozens of students accused of sexual assault.
weeklystandard.com By Johnson and Taylor
The nightmare: You are a male undergraduate. A female friend accuses you of raping her. Your university charges you with sexual assault. You figure the matter will be easily resolved, since your girlfriend and another friend were sitting nearby the entire time, and both will testify that there was no rape, no physical contact…You figured wrong. At your disciplinary hearing your university reached findings that contradicted the evidence and disregarded the testimony from your two eyewitnesses that no assault had occurred. You were found guilty, suspended and denied a college education for two years.
jewishjournal.com By Arthur Willner
A New York Times article provided a view into the distressing fight that mothers take on to clear their sons who are accused of sexual assault on campus. The stories of these women provide a fresh reminder that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was right to rescind the Obama Administrations guidelines about combating campus sexual assault. Those guidelines eroded rights of accused students and led to a perverse environment on campuses. In many cases, the young men are cleared, but their lives can’t return to “normal” because assault allegations have damaged their name, reputation, and career and education prospects. iwf.org By P. L. Onwuka
The Massachusetts Senate has voted unanimously in favor of a bill that looks like it would kill due process for those accused of sexual misconduct on campuses. Due process for the accused was almost eliminated in 2011 by Obama’s Department of Education, but Trump’s Secretary of Education rescinded Obama’s anti-due process guidelines in Sept. 2017. In Massachusetts, a number of lawsuits filed by accused parties in response to their treatment at the hands of colleges have seen settlements. In a federal complaint involving Brandeis University, Judge Saylor ripped Brandeis administrators for “appearing to have substantially impaired, if not eliminated, an accused student’s right to a fair and impartial process.”…Last month Democratic CA Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a measure to codify Obama’s 2011 guidelines.
iwf.org By Charlotte Hays
It has been two years since I was falsely accused, and I’m going to share my very complex and traumatic story with you. One night I drank too much, and woke up to a fraternity brother performing oral sex on me. I screamed “HOW DARE YOU!?” When I told our Housing Director, he implored me to keep the incident quiet. Looking back, I realize how stupid I was to keep quiet…A year later I was accused by a group of people who had convinced my friend and fraternity brother that I had assaulted him in his sleep. My entire world came crashing down around me. Hanover College’s Title IX Coordinator, Casey Heckler, is perhaps the most incompetent woman on the face of God’s Green Earth, and during this time I received constant harassment from the group of men who helped coordinate my accusation. This all culminated in my suicide attempt and a lengthy stay in a mental institution…In Feb. 2016 I was on campus for a second hearing when I was found not responsible for the first case. The group of men coordinating my accusations were infuriated that I was found not responsible. One of them even tweeted “dont worry, his celebration will be short lived.” The implication was clear. They would be accusing me again and again and again until I was expelled.
facingthecampus.blogspot.com By Jonathon Andrews
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s new agenda for handling allegations of sexual assault is flunking out at colleges and universities across the country. Instead, many say they will continue to adhere to Obama administration guidance issued in 2011 that made it easier to punish alleged perpetrators. It’s not only institutions of higher learning that have vowed to resist the reforms DeVos has outlined. Several states have produced legislation to codify the Obama administration’s guidance. One surprising response came in California where the state Legislature passed a bill aimed to codify Obama-era guidance. But it was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown, who cited concerns for due process and fairness.
realclearinvestigations.com By Ashe Schow
A former Sacred Heart University student, accused of making up rape allegations against two football players to gain sympathy from a prospective boyfriend, was denied a pretrial probation program Friday. “This kind of false report is lethal to all true victims,” Superior Court Judge Maureen Dennis stated in denying accelerated rehabilitation for 19-year-old Nikki Yovino. “Her actions altered two lives in a significant way. If not for the extraordinary efforts involved in this investigation, the lives of these two young men could have been altered much more severely.”
ctpost.com By Daniel Tepfer
A William Paterson University police detective, Ellen DeSimone, ordered the arrest of two male students accused of sex assault. A federal appeals court recently ruled that DeSimone must first prove the reasonableness of the arrests before she can be determined immune. The judge stated. “Deciding whether DeSimone acted reasonably requires a determination of facts concerning what DeSimone knew when she sought the warrant and whether that knowledge would have caused a reasonable officer to investigate further. To resolve that issue, we need more facts.”
FULL STORY BELOW:
A Jane Doe filed charges against her William Paterson University classmates, Collick and Williams, claiming they sexually assaulted her. The two were arrested, but a New Jersey grand jury declined to indict them, according to Third Circuit Judge Jane R. Roth’s opinion.
Collick and Williams sued the university, its police department, and detective Ellen DeSimone for alleged violations of Title IX, the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the state constitution, and the Fourth, Fifth and 14th amendments.
The trial court held that DeSimone was not protected by qualified immunity on the Fourth Amendment claim because there were not enough facts to support the assertion that the defendants did not violate the plaintiffs’ rights. The Third Circuit agreed.
“We have reviewed the pleadings and heard oral argument. We agree with the district court’s conclusion that it could not grant qualified immunity to DeSimone on the Fourth Amendment claim,” Roth said. “Our Fourth Amendment jurisprudence establishes that DeSimone’s entitlement to qualified immunity depends on the objective reasonableness of her actions at the time she applied for the arrest warrants.”
The judge continued, “Deciding whether DeSimone acted reasonably requires a determination of facts concerning what DeSimone knew when she sought the warrant and whether that knowledge would have caused a reasonable officer to investigate further. To resolve that issue, we need more facts.”
Roth said that discovery may show that DeSimone acted reasonably by not investigating further steps after she received Doe’s report or that DeSimone made no pertinent omissions in her warrant applications. Or it might show the opposite, Roth said—the point being, those facts were not available to the district judge.
Michael J. Epstein who represented the plaintiffs, said he was pleased with the decision and that the lawsuit was aimed at clearing his clients’ names. “Given the amount of time that’s passed we’re not trying to get them back into the college but we’re trying to get their records cleared,” he said.
www.law.com By P.J. Dannunzio
The Trump administration appears to have tapped a longtime critic of the federal government’s role in education policy for a job at the Education Department. Hans Bader, who until last week served as senior attorney at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, will be joining DoED’s Office of General Counsel.