Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Swarthmore Litigation Resolves as College Vacates Disciplinary Committee's Findings Against Student

Earlier this year, we blogged about a male student's lawsuit against Swarthmore College, alleging bias in the college disciplinary proceeding that found him responsible for sexual assault and lead to his expulsion.  Swarthmore had vigorously defended the lawsuit until a surprising turn of events this week, when the college announced that it had vacated the findings against the student, explaining that "additional information became available which both parties believe raises questions about the impartiality of the college judiciary committee panel that heard [the plaintiff’s] case, which "raises sufficient questions about the fairness of the hearing to warrant vacating the panel’s findings and sanctions." The student and Swarthmore then filed a joint motion to dismiss the student's case against the college, which the judge granted.

Though the college has vacating the findings of the proceeding that has occurred, it did not agree to automatically reinstate the student. Yet while the student would have to undergo another hearing before being eligible to return to Swarthmore, such a hearing is not expected to occur as the student has enrolled elsewhere.

The Swarthmore case is one of a number recent cases in which male students disciplined for sexual assault have sued their universities alleging bias and/or procedural violations. (Another such case, this one against the University of Colorado, was reported last week.)