Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sexual Assault Litigation Roundup

Universities' response to sexual assault allegations have generated several lawsuits lately. Here is a round-up:
  • A female student sued the University of Alabama at Huntsville, alleging that campus police violated Title IX when they discouraged her from pressing charges against a male student -- a hockey player -- who had raped her. (The player has since confessed and left the country for his native Finland.)  She also alleged that the university officials responsible for the campus judicial system violated her rights under Title IX.  After she prevailed in an initial hearing that determined that he was responsible for rape and should be expelled, he appealed this ruling to the associate provost, who allegedly delayed his decision until the end of the hockey season and then downgraded the sanction to a two-month suspension.  
  • Two students, a male and female couple, sued the University of Houston to challenge the fact that they were expelled after having been found responsible for sexual misconduct against another female classmate.  That classmate reported that the male of the couple had sexually assaulted her and the female of the couple had caught them on videotape and then left her naked in the hallway of their campus apartment building.  The expelled students claim that their due process rights were violated in the manner in which they were expelled.
  • A male student expelled from Occidental College for sexual assault has filed a Title IX complaint with the Department of Education as well as a lawsuit against the college. After a disciplinary proceeding found him responsible on the grounds that she was incapacitated by alcohol to have provided consent, he filed a sexual misconduct charge against her on the grounds that he, too, was intoxicated.  He claims that the college's failure to process his claim demonstrates discrimination on the basis of sex.