Three Minnesota football players have been cleared of sexual harassment allegations in the final round of appeals at the school and will be allowed to return to spring practice. “These couple of months have been nothing short of a nightmare for me and I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me and shown nothing but love,” Winfield posted on Twitter. “Today I have officially been cleared and I am excited to tear up the field for my brothers and my gopher fans.”
reviewjournal.com By Jon Krawczynski
Georgia colleges tread where prosecutors won’t, but some claim secret tribunals are unfair to the accused. A three-month AJC investigation into the secretive world of campus tribunals found that Georgia’s largest universities are pursuing cases that prosecutors won’t touch. But the newspaper also found that campus justice comes with steep trade-offs. Procedures vary widely and are often poorly understood by both the accused and the accuser. Students, and sometimes their parents, expect the strict rules of a court of law, but instead encounter a looser system where cross-examining witnesses is sharply curtailed and the burden of proof is far lower. Several students claim the proceedings in place are deeply flawed and violated their rights to due process.
investigations.myajc By Shannon McCaffrey and Janel Davis
AMHERST JUDGE: Male student expelled for sexual assault may have been victim himself
CALIFORNIA JUDGE: Disparity in campus tribunal ‘enough to shock the Court’s conscience’
CORNELL: Caused ‘actual harm’ to student accused of sexual assault
COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY PUEBLO: School’s sexual assault proceeding suggests ‘bias and inaccuracy’
OHIO JUDGE: Accused students have right to cross-examination
watchdog By Ashe Schow
An amended complaint filed in February against Yale et al, portrays a grim reality. Yale’s disciplinary procedures sanction abuse of power in the adjudication of charges of sexual misconduct. The conventional wisdom is that while public universities, as government actors, must comply with constitutional requirements, private universities operate under no such constraints. This is broadly correct. But under “state action” doctrine …“If government requires or induces a private party to engage in law enforcement, all relevant constitutional restraints apply.” This, Doe contends, is exactly what the Obama administration DoED did in April 2011 when it instructed universities, on pain of losing federal funding, to investigate, adjudicate, and punish all allegations of sexual assault. That is, although the government also demanded that universities shrink due process protections for the accused, by deputizing them to engage in law enforcement in addressing allegations of sexual misconduct, the administration in effect imposed on them an obligation to comply with constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection. This lawsuit is very likely the first to test Rubenfield’s (Yale Law Prof. and Doe’s adviser) legal theory of “Privatization, State Action, and Title IX: Do Campus Sexual Assault Hearings Violate Due Process?”
realclearpolitics By Peter Berkowitz
Of all the campus cases since the Dear Colleague letter, the Amherst case is the worst. This case featured a student (JD) who not only could use his accuser’s own words to prove his innocence, but could demonstrate from the college’s own findings that he was, plausibly, a sexual assault victim—and yet the college culminated a biased process by expressing disinterest in his evidence. If Amherst could get this lawsuit dismissed, it would be hard to imagine any set of facts in which an accused student could be certain of prevailing. On Tuesday, however, Judge Mark Mastroianni, an Obama appointee, allowed the lawsuit to proceed. There’s little reason to believe that Mastroianni was eager to make this decision. This is a judge who didn’t appear ideologically inclined to side with the accused student. (In a case at UMass, he sided with the university, despite ample grounds for doubting UMass’ fairness)
This is a terribly tragic story of discrimination and what bystander intervention really looks like. A TIX sexual assault complaint was filed by a nosy 3rd party female…Doe attempted to put an end to the matter at once: Grant Neal (the accused) recorded her making the definitive statement, “I’m fine and I wasn’t raped” to university officials. But no one cared. In the eyes of the university, it was not Doe’s place to determine whether she was a victim of sexual assault—that was the investigators job. The man in charge of investigating whether Grant Neal had raped Doe first told Neal to open emails from Doe his girlfriend, and then later told him he could be disciplined for opening them. “That’s when I immediately knew,” said Neal. “That’s when I really knew that the situation was above my control.”.. After denying Neal any meaningful way to demonstrate his innocence, CSU-Pueblo effectively ended his career, cancelling out his scholarships and opportunities to play football and pursue a wrestling career. Read Mr. Neal’s interview below.
reason By Robby Soave
Georgia state representative Earl Ehrhart has won committee approval for legislation that would remove the adjudication of felony sexual assault from campus administrators and return it to law enforcement. Ehrhart’s bill HB51 would go a long way toward establishing a system that could produce real justice. watchdog By Ashe Schow
Here’s a video of the bill’s discussion. SOS is very grateful to Attorney Charles Jones for supporting HB51 and for speaking out (in the midst of jeers) on behalf of the falsely accused who must remain silent due to college settlement agreements.
San Diego State University violated “procedural fairness” by refusing to let a student accused of rape have an advocate “with the same or substantially similar skills, training and experience” as his accuser’s advocate, ruled California Judge Wohlfeil. Wohlfeil also denounced the university’s “well-intentioned, but deeply flawed, administrative system to investigate and review complaints of student misconduct,” which stacks the deck against accused students. “The disparity of these circumstances is enough to shock the Court’s conscience,” the judge wrote.
“Procedures that most colleges and universities use in sexual assault cases are so structurally unfair to accused students- it calls into question the schools’ commitment to pursuing the truth.” “The lower threshold as articulated in guidance in 2011 by the Office for Civil Rights provides the foundation for a likely outcome of responsibility”… “It’s not about finding the truth, or administering justice. The purpose of the guidance is to make it more likely that accused students are found responsible, whether or not they have done anything wrong.” Excerpts from ‘The Campus Rape Frenzy: Attack on Due Process at American Universities’
washingtonpost.com By Johnson and Taylor
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