The number of victims on campus continues to rise as not much is actually done about it. There is a pool of knowledge around the topic of Title IX and campus rape, but no one is really providing any actions. Victims of sexual assault are courageously speaking up, the Vice President has provided verbal support for one particular rape victim; yet no one is moving closer to action. No one is even discussing reforming the power to prosecute or not prosecute given to college administrators. The consequences are sexual predators remaining on college campuses, and lives of those who haven't done anything wrong absolutely destroyed.
Please keep in mind, this series is not to showcase "his word against hers," this series is not about rape victims, nor is it about other people who pay the price when colleges fail. This series is intended to bring light to a different fact base. Colleges are ruining the futures of young adults through their mandated responsibility, but total lack of ability to adjudicate campus sexual assault cases.
In Part One of this series, I told you about a case from Boston College. A young man's life was ripped apart, even after being proven 100% without a doubt innocent, because campuses simply do not have the capability to do what the "Dear Colleague Letter" mandates them to do. Part two of this series takes us to a case at The University of Kentucky.
From Court Documents:
"Student A was never the complainant in the administrative proceeding with the University. In fact, after the incident in question, Mr. Doe and Student A continued to socialize, and she subsequently invited him to spend another night with her. Weeks later, an unidentified third party unilaterally reported the matter, and the University began to investigate."
Let that sink in.
Weeks later, someone anonymously filed a sexual assault complaint. Student A never considered what happened to be sexual misconduct. John Doe never considered the events to be sexual misconduct. They both admitted to drinking and they both engaged in sexual intercourse. Someone else decided that all drunken sex is rape, therefore it must be reported. The school decided regardless of what the two college students thought, and regardless of them both engaging in the same activities, John Doe needed to be punished.
John Doe was immediately suspended from campus pending the conclusion of this case. He lost his scholarship, and all pre-paid tuition, and his college transcripts are branded with the black mark of "Suspended for Sexual Misconduct" which will likely disallow him from enrolling in another school.
TWO YEARS of litigation. The University has conducted hearings and John Doe has appealed. It was taken to federal court and the University of Kentucky attempted to schedule another hearing on the matter. John Doe's attorneys filed legal action to stop them from having additional hearings. Student A filed her own Title IX complaint with the OCR against the University for the way it mishandled this case. This case still has not concluded; neither party has resolve, and no one can move forward completely.
Two lives ruined directly, families hurt, friendships burdened because someone else decided Student A was raped. In that moment, the person filing the complaint changed other people's life courses to serve their agendas and beliefs over those of the two individuals involved.
In a case against University of California San Diego, Jane Roe accused John Doe of sexual misconduct. In this case, she admitted that she did not object in any way to the sexual contact, and continued a sexual relationship with John Doe later in the same evening. A San Diego County Superior Court Judge found that the University conducted a hearing that violated the due process rights of John Doe. With those violations, the university missed vital evidence of Mr. Doe's innocence. It was determined that, "that substantial evidence does not support the finding of non-consensual sexual activity," as well as "What the evidence does show is Ms. Roe's personal regret for engaging in sexual activity beyond her boundaries."
"The Court finds the university abused its discretion in increasing sanctions after appeal without explanation. Petitioner's initial sanctions were the following: "(1) suspension for one quarter, (2) permanent no contact order, due to the potential for ongoing harm to the complaining witness, (3) a two hour sex offense/sexual harassment training with OPHD, and (4) counseling assessment with CAPS. When Petitioner appealed the decision of the Panel, Dean increased Petitioner's suspension time to one year, which would cause Petitioner to reapply to the University to be readmitted, placed Petitioner on non-academic probation, required Petitioner to attend ethics workshops, all in addition to the original sanctions given. Nowhere in Dean Mallory's email to Petitioner does she indicate the reasoning behind the increased sanctions. Petitioner then appealed to the Council of Provosts, who affirmed the decision made by Dean Mallory and the Panel. The Council of Provosts also increased Petitioner's suspension time to one year and a quarter, allowing Petitioner to return to the University in the Spring of 2016. The Council of Provosts also did not provide any reasoning behind the increased sanctions. Given the lack of rationale by both Dean Mallory and the Council of Provosts for the increased sanctions, it appears the increased sanctions are punitive towards Petitioner for appealing the decision of the Panel."
Further, the court Ordered:
"The Court finds that the hearing was unfair and that evidence did not support the findings. The Court GRANTS the Petition for Writ of Mandamus and orders Respondent to set aside its findings and sanctions issued against petitioner."
I asked attorney Michael J. Cox what changes we could begin to make for this situation to get better. His response was, "Nothing in the case law prohibits the (public) schools from granting full due-process rights to the accused, including particularly the right to cross-examination, but as I have observed in a brief, the colleges simply decide they are better off stiffing the accused than facing the potential wrath of the Office of Civil Rights by not finding the "correct" way." He also suggested if Kentucky State Universities were to apply KRS Chapter 13B (Kentucky's Administrators Procedures Law) with regards to the rules for administrate hearings, he believes due process would remain intact.
I have heard numbers between 150 to well over 300 cases like these. Once the accused has been formally disciplined, yet prior to a hearing, the schools have a vested interested in finding that person "guilty" or as most put it "responsible" for the accused crime. The universities are mandated to take immediate steps to insure the safety of the reporting individual. According to my own research, I've found the vast majority put the accused on immediate suspension pending the investigation and hearing. It is at that point that all hell breaks loose. These are not trained investigators. These are not judges or attorneys, and most schools limit attorney involvement to just simply being present. They are not allowed to have meaningful representation. At minimum, suspension causes loss of tuition, missing classes, and branded with being a sexual predator; all before anything is investigated by anyone with true authority.
It is time to make a change. It is time to put all students on the same level. That is what Title IX is all about. It is time to start establishing a fair and impartial way to discern between rape victims and regret or drunken activities. The pendulum went from one far side to the other extreme far side, and now is the time to bring it back to center.
This blog is part two in a series outlining the horror stories caused by campus adjudication and clear lack thereof. These stories are very important to clarifying the extreme injustices happening on our college campuses. I hope you will continue to read the series.
If you have a story to add or input you would like included, please feel free to contact me.