Campus Free Speech

For the First Time Ever, Feds Focus on How a College Violated Accused Student's Title IX Rights

Wesley College wrongfully expelled a student for sexual misconduct, says the Office for Civil Rights.



It finally happened: the Office for Civil Rights came down on the side of a male student who was accused of sexual harassment.

In its settlement with Wesley College, the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights actually found college officials guilty of violating the students' Title IX rights by failing to give him an opportunity to argue his innocence.

This is an unprecedented case: In the past, Title IX has almost always been used as a pretext for denying fundamental due process rights to students accused of sexual misconduct. The Wesley settlement proves that OCR recognizes some limits on the ability of colleges to banish students without a fair hearing.

OCR's investigation stemmed from a March 2015 incident: several male students made a video of a male and female student having sex. The video was made without the female students' permission, and four students involved in its production were expelled within a week, according to Inside Higher Ed.

One of these students claimed he wasn't involved. The female agreed, and even told the college that she knew this student wasn't responsible. But the college essentially refused to consider her testimony—the wrongfully expelled student was told he would have to appeal the decision. He did so, and the college rejected his appeal.

Believing his rights were violated, the expelled student's mother filed a Title IX complaint on his behalf:

During its investigation, OCR found that the college not only ignored the accused student's right to due process but also its own established policies and procedures.

The college never interviewed the four accused students, and administrators never provided the men with a copy of the incident report or the college's investigative findings. The college imposed an interim suspension ahead of the hearing, banning the students from campus and attending class, while not giving them an opportunity to challenge the suspension. The college's Title IX policy specifically stated that accused students must be interviewed, provided with relevant documents and given a chance to show why an interim suspension would not be necessary.

As part of the settlement, Wesley College must reinvestigate his case—although he already graduated from a different college.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education told Inside Higher Ed that this outcome is a nice change of pace for OCR, but the agency's fundamental misapplication of Title IX is still a major problem:

"Ultimately, this is a welcome recognition of basic due process," said Will Creeley, vice president of legal and public advocacy at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. "But it's not a real corrective to OCR's continued longstanding lack attention to due process rights. OCR has not paid attention to due process rights throughout the past five years, so it's not surprising that administrations in their rush to comply with OCR's mandates have thoroughly neglected to pay attention to due process protections. In some sense, OCR is reaping what they've sown."

To read more on the legal challenge to Title IX, go here.

Updated at 11:15 p.m.: According to Tyler Kingkade of BuzzFeed News, OCR has found in favor of an accused student at least one other time. But this is the first time the agency's decision has focused so specifically on an accused student's mistreatment.

NEXT: Maine's Attorney General Says Legalization Initiative Would Let Minors Possess Pot

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The truth of things is always secondary when you have an agenda.

  2. The male patriarchy strikes again!

    1. You are correct… Any time that there is a student with a penis accused of sexual misconduct, and found ANYTHING short of all-out, flat-out GUILTY of causing ALL bad things in the local galactic cluster, if not the entire cosmos… Then it is an occ-ASS-ion for OUTRAGE!

      So I for one am dutifully OUTRAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Where would I find this recording? It’s important to truly understand the facts of the case before passing judgment.

    1. Sex was had, pornos were made, Title IX was violated, students were expelled, OCR said the Uni fucked up the investigation. What more do you need to know?

      You know your writing/reporting is really bad when the porno is required to clear it up.

      1. (((Renegade))) is correct, though, we REALLY need to see the video before we can fully, correctly condemn this with-penis student… A proper viewing of the video must be had before we properly conduct the hanging…

  4. some one’s gonna get fired over this!

    1. Naw, you’re talking about Civil Servants on one side and Academia on the other.

      They’ll get transferred to shit assignments until they resign on their own to save the management the hassle of going through the paperwork of getting rid of someone who did something they didn’t like.

      1. What!?!? It’s not like someone died here.

        They’ll be put in charge of documenting and undergoing remedial action(s). Then, as this happens more and more, they’ll be seen as a pioneer in the reformation. They might be required to travel in order to spread the word about how to remediate this shit, but their flights and hotel bills will be covered. Flying coach and possibly having the expenses deducted from their bonuses/pay raise is the worst treatment they’ll get.

        The undergraduate intern who filed the paperwork will probably be let go and barred from working for the university.

  5. Why do you (WHITE MALE) libtardians not BELIEVE THE WOMEN?? If a woman says she was sexually assaulted, I’TS TRUE!!! Allowing these rapists a defense is proof that we live in a PATRIARCHY RAPE CULTURE society,.

    1. So true that major media outlets won’t actually use the term “sexual assault” to describe it at all out of fear of liability.

    2. The woman who said the student in question was not involved?

      1. Oh it would be something new, something like “the decision reopened the traumatic wounds and now my rights have been violated”

      2. Obviously a result of RAPE TRAUMA!!!

        (am I getting this right? I’m pretty sure I’m not, ebcause I should be angrier and more unhinged)

    3. Unless that women is Juanita Broaddrick or Monica Lewinsky, those women are liars! Well, ok, the second one might have been a little true but that’s only because she was such a slut.

    4. Why do you (WHITE MALE) libtardians not BELIEVE THE WOMEN??

      Given the (lack of) details, is there anyone at odds with the “facts”? It doesn’t exactly sound like the woman is saying she was raped/assaulted but that casting her in a porno and without her knowledge/against her will is illegal and/or a Title IX violation. There’s a 25% chance she verbally defended her partner.

      Half of me wants to say “What a shitty case to ‘overturn’ Title IX on.”, the other half realizes that there are zero facts and that Title IX should be overturned on pretty much every case between two students in non-University sanctioned roles.

      1. That is to say, as near as I can tell, she claims to have been videotaped without her knowledge and/or consent and without the video, I believe her. Not that video taping someone without their consent in a public(?) space constitutes rape, sexual harassment, grounds for expulsion, etc., etc.

    5. But what if I have exercised my gender fluidity so that I’m female when I make a claim of patriarchal assault, and what if I claimed that the patriarchal brute was birth female but fluidly morphed at the time of her patriarchal mysogony?

      What then, I ask.

  6. See? Title IX is totally fair and there’s no need for reform! Its only sexist assholes who think Title IX needs reform.

    1. You can almost see the title of the next Slate article to be posted…

  7. A fat dollar says when Wesley re-investigates the case they get slapped with a Title IX suit by the OCR on behalf of the woman. Just because the OCR said the guy’s rights were violated doesn’t mean that the college can get away with violating the woman’s rights by doing anything different. One of those “Freeze! Put your hands up! Don’t move! Show me your hands!” situations where you’re getting shot for not following orders no matter what you do.

    1. Ha. Wouldn’t that be ironic.
      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    2. The prosecutrix already said that the prevailing appealant was not involved….

      1. Slow on the refresh and one-upped by ‘prosecutrix’.

        *falls on own sword*

    3. Except they already knowingly and willfully ignored her testimony that he wasn’t involved.

      Less “Don’t move and show me your hands!” and more “Don’t move and show me your hands!” *furtive gesture*.

  8. …in the past, Title IX has almost always been used as a pretext for denying fundamental due process rights to students men accused of sexual misconduct.

    FTFY, Froot Sooshi.

    1. That’s not the only part of it.

      It’s also used to ensure women sports get the same funding as men’s, despite research suggesting women are half as interested in sports on average.

  9. If this continues, and some form of minimal due process is enforced for title IX hearings, how the he’ll is Robby going to find enough afternoon links to get them out by 4:30 with proper alt text?
    As the slope slippens, he gets reduced to using genric hair product, is unable to dazzle the ladies (shiny shields at 10% and falling), and before you know it, he’s on the street without even a leather jacket to keep him company.

  10. Believing his rights were violated, the expelled student’s mother filed a Title IX complaint on his behalf…

    Because only women are allowed to file Title IX complaints.

  11. Liliana . if you think Lawrence `s blog is incredible, I just purchased a new Honda after earning $5741 this – 4 weeks past and also 10 grand lass month . it’s by-far the most-comfortable job I have ever done . I started this four months/ago and almost immediately began to make minimum $85… p/h .

    see this…………….

  12. While coming to education, the technology has brought many advantages to students and as well as teachers. showbox For example, students can do their homework or assignment with ease and can complete it faster by using the Internet.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.