The verdict came down in the first defamation case stemming from Rolling Stone’s famously flawed investigation about college rape on the Friday before Election Day. The jury awarded Eramo $3 million in damages: $1 million from Rolling Stone and $2 million from Erdely. A second lawsuit, from the fraternity itself, is scheduled for trial in Virginia state court next fall. Here are some takeaways from the Eramo decision, based on insights from lawyers who followed the case.
cjr.org/analysis By Bill Wyman
College Men: Don’t Apply Here
Occidental, UVA, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Harvard, University of Oregon, USC, SMU, UNC, the State of New York, Illinois, Virginia, Minnesota, California and Connecticut. These colleges and states have passed laws that are extremely biased against males. As anti-due process and anti-male continues, this list grows.
Earlier this fall, OCR announced its findings against Wesley College for mishandling a case against a falsely accused student. He was denied rights to present evidence of his innocence. The main reason we need due process is to make sure you don’t get punished if you’re innocent. A college hearing board cannot imprison an accused, but it can take away the educational opportunities he has earned, cut him off from his community, and impose a stigma that can deny him future opportunities. It should not impose these life-altering consequences without substantial evidence that has withstood close scrutiny. It should give the accused a meaningful chance to defend himself.
Adoption of the Dear Colleague letter in 2011-coupled with campus pressure from activists and their faculty and administrative allies-has paved the way for all sorts of procedural abuses in campus sexual assault cases. The latest example comes in a lawsuit filed against Williams College. This case was unusual…one of its employees had leveled serious, uncorroborated allegations against a student with whom she’d had an inappropriate romantic relationship. The complaint claims Dean Bolton assured her that Doe’s expulsion was virtually assured, despite firm college rules that preclude someone in Bolton’s position discussing another student’s disciplinary proceedings with someone in the employee’s position.
academicwonderland.com By KC Johnson
Lawyers for former Yale basketball captain Jack Montague are seeking a court order that would allow him to return to class while he fights his expulsion for being accused [falsely] of sexual misconduct. Montague says the October 2014 sexual encounter was consensual, and no criminal charges were brought. “He has already suffered, and continues to suffer, irreparable injury -his ability to complete his education and receive the degree he had all but earned prior to his expulsion hangs in the balance, and his employment prospects are dim,”
According to the claim, both parties were students at Tulane University and Jane Doe falsely accused him of sexually assaulting her at her campus apartment. The suit states she filed the allegedly false complaint on March 29 and that the complaint caused him to be expelled from the university. The defendant is accused of defamation of character.
louisianarecord.com By Carrie Bradon
Cornell’s investigators only considered Roe’s complaint and ignored Doe’s on the basis of his gender. John Doe’s suit claims that, among other infractions, the investigator refused to properly handle Doe’s complaint, conducted biased interviews against Doe in favor of Roe. In addition, the suit alleges that Doe was mistreated during the investigation, saying investigators denied him opportunities to speak with his lawyer before answering certain questions and refused to request that Roe preserve certain pieces of evidence that she possessed. “Cornell has given us a revolving door of excuses as to why it won’t investigate our complaint,” Doe’s lawyer Alan Sash said.
cornellsun.com By Josh Girsky
Robert Barber’s attorney, Stephen Graham, filed a response Monday rebutting Washington State’s assertion that the Whitman County Superior Court should deny Barber’s request for a stay of his client’s suspension. “He’s allowed on the campus,” Graham said. “I don’t know why he’d be able to go to the CUB (student union building), walk on campus and visit friends in the dorms, but when it comes to time to study, he’s now not allowed on campus.”
seattletimes.com By Stefanie Loh
A federal jury has awarded $3 million in damages to a former University of Virginia associate dean after finding that a Rolling Stone magazine article sullied her reputation by alleging that she was indifferent to allegations of a gang rape on campus.
washingtonpost.com By T. Rees Shapiro
California law gives to state courts some discretion in reviewing the determinations of administrative hearings—which includes campus sexual assault tribunals. As a result, some of the most pro-due process decisions have come from California state courts. While it’s always dangerous to predict an appeals outcome from oral argument, it was clear that all three justices had concerns about the fairness of the UCSD system.
academicwonderland.com By KC Johnson
A Kenyan man filed a $3 million federal lawsuit against BYU, alleging that administrators favored his female accusers when they expelled him to shield themselves from accusations that they fail to protect women from sexual assault. The suit claimed the university denied him due process rights that he believed would have exonerated him of all wrongdoing. The dean of students suspended and then expelled ‘Mr. Doe’ in 2013. The lawsuit asks the court to order BYU to give him an A in every class during semesters affected by what it calls false, inaccurate and misleading accusations. It also requests that the court order BYU to list him as a student and employee in good standing.
deseretnews.com By Tad Walch