Ruling affirming the rights of students accused of sexual misconduct roils California colleges

constitution, Due Process, title IX

Colleges and universities across California are scrambling to revise the way they handle sexual misconduct cases after a state appellate court ruled that “fundamental fairness” requires that accused students have a right to a hearing and to cross-examine their accusers.

The decision last month came in a USC case but applies to all California public and private colleges, and prompted many to immediately halt Title IX investigations while they reshape their procedures. California State University, the University of California and USC, Claremont McKenna and Occidental colleges confirmed that they have made or soon will be making changes.  For the full article, click here… 

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DOE investigating Title IX complaints from men who say it discriminates in support of women

Due Process, Equal Opportunity, title IX

A men’s rights activist who has used federal complaints to target women-only scholarships and programs is now trying to start a national movement to end what he sees as discrimination against men.

Over the past 15 months, the activist, Kursat Pekgoz, 31, a doctoral student in English literature at the University of Southern California, has filed federal Title IX complaints against three universities, and drafted complaints against three more, alleging that efforts to support female students are no longer necessary and amount to discrimination against male students. Once outnumbered, women now make up about 56.5 percent of students at American universities, notes Pekgoz, who has himself been the subject of a Title IX investigation into a sexual harassment allegation.  For the full article, click here…

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Lawsuit: IU Violated Title IX By Suspending Male Student Accused Of Rape

Due Process, Equal Opportunity, title IX

A male student is suing Indiana University for Title IX violations, alleging the school’s investigation into rape accusations was biased against him because of his gender.

It’s the latest in a series of lawsuits invoking the federal civil rights law on behalf of men accused of sexual assault.

The Incident

The complicated details of the case begin in September 2017, when both John Doe and Jane Doe acknowledge they had sexual intercourse at a fraternity house. The two later learned someone else had taken a photo of them during intercourse and had shared it with others.

The photo was reported to IU officials and an investigation began a few days later. The university ultimately found two people responsible for taking and distributing the photo.

In May 2018, the school launched a new investigation after Jane reported she was too drunk to give consent that night and accused John of sexual assault.

Indiana University Police investigated and the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office declined to file rape charges.

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According to documents filed with the lawsuit, an IU panel heard testimony from both students; they gave conflicting accounts about the night, with John reporting that he verbally asked Jane for consent.

The panel determined in November that John “did not know or reasonably should not have known that Complainant was incapacitated,” but also determined he “more likely than not” violated sexual consent code of conduct policies. The panel also determined John allowed that photo to be taken.

His punishment included a four-year suspension, a no-contact order with Jane Doe, and a prohibition to be on campus during the suspension.  For a copy of the current lawsuit, click here…  395469534-John-Doe-v-Indiana-University-Title-IX-Violation-Complaint 

For the full article, click here… 

Dean of Harvard Faculty ‘Concerned’ About Proposed Federal Changes to Title IX

Due Process, Equal Opportunity, title IX

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay said in an interview Wednesday that she is currently reviewing proposed changes to federal Title IX policy and would be “concerned” about any alterations that make it more difficult for people who have experienced sexual misconduct to report it.

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The proposed regulations — released last month alongside a statement from U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos — provide a new framework for interpreting Title IX, an anti-sex discrimination law that shapes the way universities address sexual harassment.

Under the new proposed rules — which could take effect in 2019 following a notice-and-comment period — universities would choose what standard of evidence to apply to cases of sexual misconduct, complainants and respondents of formal investigations would have the opportunity to question each other in a live hearing, and complaints of misconduct could not center on incidents that take place outside the bounds of a school “program or activity.”  To read the full article, click here…

He defended Michigan State vs. sexual assaults. Now he heads the Title IX Office

Due Process, Equal Opportunity, title IX

A Michigan State University attorney who defended the institution against sexual assault lawsuits is now heading the office handling sexual assault complaints — a move that is drawing criticism from victim advocates.

This month, Robert Kent was moved out of his assistant general counsel position and into the job of interim associate vice president of the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance — a decision made by MSU Interim President John Engler that is drawing scrutiny from critics, who say the move could send a discouraging message from the university. msu

“At every turn, they signal an unwillingness to deal with the culture, and a message to survivors that their voices don’t matter,” said Rachael Denhollander, the first Larry Nassar sex assault victim to come forth publicly. She said, in her view, the appointment of Kent to handle Title IX cases was the latest in a string of insensitive moves.  For the full story, click here …

“On Campus While Black” – is the trend of reporting to police about the presence of persons of color on a college campus a new form of campus segregation, a form of micro-gentrification or simply years of campus diversity training missing the mark?

Due Process, Equal Opportunity

A Yale student has police called on her for sleeping in a common room, police are called on two black men while meeting at Starbucks, police are again called on two Native-American college-tour attendees – this trend of alerting police to the simple presence of persons of color has been trending nationally for the past week. When this occurs on a college campus, it can have a direct effect on overall diversity, inclusiveness and police interaction with students.  In all cases as stated above, there had been no crime as the 911 caller suggested – or has there been?  In many states, there are statutes on record that criminalize the filing of false police reports.  The question then becomes, is a 911 call to the police due simply to the presence of a person color on campus a “false police report.”  

In Massachusetts, for example, under G.L. c. 269, § 13A, “[w]hoever intentionally and knowingly makes or causes to be made a false report of a crime to police officers shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred nor more than five hundred dollars or by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for not more than one year, or both.”

In California, “every person who reports to any other peace officer, … that a felony or misdemeanor has been committed, knowing the report to be false, woman-using-a-mobile-phoneis guilty of a misdemeanor if (1) the false information is given while the peace officer is engaged in the performance of his or her duties as a peace officer and (2) the person providing the false information knows or should have known that the person receiving the information is a peace officer.”  See, CHAPTER 7. Other Offenses Against Public Justice [142 – 181].  In Florida, a person who knowingly gives false information to a law enforcement officer concerning the alleged commission of any crime, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.  

While the various laws of many states are fairly consistent regarding false police reports, approaches by various colleges are not.  Diversity training on a college campus can address these important concerns while at the same time delivers a greater sense of inclusiveness to those students of color impacted.  Do you think colleges should be more aggressive in helping to prosecute the filing of false police reports?

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A black Yale graduate student took a nap in her dorm’s common room. So a white student called police

constitution, Due Process, Equal Opportunity

Looks like all those campus-wide diversity trainings just weren’t enough.  A white person voices suspicions about an innocuous person of color. Police are summoned. And the encounter is posted on social media, sparking outrage about racial profiling.  In what is becoming an all-too familiar episode, a black Yale University graduate student was interrogated by campus police officers early Tuesday morning after a white student found her sleeping in a common room of their dorm and called police.  For the full story, click here… Yale_University_logo.

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Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court finds that colleges possess a “special relationship” with students and an affirmative duty to take reasonable measures to prevent student suicide

Due Process, Equal Opportunity
In the aftermath of a tragic on-campus student suicide, the student’s family sued MIT for wrongful death.  The case progressed to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.  The court concluded ” a university has a special relationship with a student and a corresponding duty to take reasonable measures to prevent his or her suicide in the following circumstances.  Where a university has actual knowledge of a student’s suicide attempt that occurred while enrolled at the university or recently before matriculation, or of a student’s stated plans or intentions to commit suicide, the university has a duty to take reasonable measures under the circumstances to protect the student from self-harm.  For the full decision, click here… 
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Explosive Title IX allegations – Student sues KY school district in Federal Court after employee uploads student’s nude pics to Russian pornsite without consent

Due Process, title IX

Student alleges, in addition to 4th amendment violations, that a Kentucky high school employee confiscated her cell phone and uploaded the phone’s private pics to an adult website without her consent.  For the full complaint, click here…  

 

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