Student Fights Back

Suing the feds


In October 2015, a female trainer at Colorado State University–Pueblo (CSUP) started dating a fellow student, an athlete named Grant Neal. Months later, he was suspended for sexually assaulting her. But there's a wrinkle in this case: The woman never complained about him. In fact, when questioned she insisted that "I'm fine and I wasn't raped."

The university took action anyway, after an acquaintance of the trainer learned of the relationship and incorrectly reported it as non-consensual. The trainer protested the investigation, but CSUP administrators claimed they had no choice—once an accusation is filed, the university is federally obligated to intervene. Neal was suspended from the university on an interim basis and forbidden from having contact with his alleged victim, though she frequently violated the no-contact order by sending him supportive messages.

A single university administrator was given sole authority to interview witnesses and render a judgment. The outcome was a two-year suspension for Neal.

The athlete has since filed a lawsuit against CSUP arguing that his due process rights were violated. But the university isn't the only institution on the hook: The U.S. Department of Education is named as a co-defendant, on the grounds that it requires colleges, via the federal anti-discrimination statute known as Title IX, to infringe the basic rights of the accused.