Title IX

Judge Hammers Penn State a Second Time For Its Treatment of Students Under Title IX

Says the school failed to follow policies it supposedly put in place after his first rebuke.

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Since the federal government began its assault on campus due process in April 2011, hundreds of students accused of sexual misconduct on campus have filed lawsuits alleging they were denied a fair shake in their universities' adjudication of those claims.

One university—Penn State—has now been rebuked twice by the same judge for its shoddy treatment of students accused of sexual misconduct. In a ruling issued just last week by Judge Matthew Brann, an Obama appointee, Brann indicated university administrators may be ignoring policies they put in place following the first suit.

In 2015, Brann granted a temporary restraining order preventing Penn State from enforcing a punishment that could have resulted in a student's deportation to Syria in the midst of that country's civil war. Brann enjoined Penn State from enforcing the student's suspension, saying the student was "reasonably likely to succeed on the merits" of his constitutional due process claim against the university, and that he would "face the potential for serious bodily harm and related injuries" if he lost his student visa and was deported to Syria.

The most recent suit, brought by plaintiff "John Doe," stems from alleged unwanted sexual contact on September 7, 2016. Doe and his accuser, "Jane Doe," were both students in a special pre-med/medical program at Penn State. According to a text message that Jane sent her roommate,John forcibly put his finger inside Jane's vagina, leaving her "bleeding a little."

As in so many of these cases, Jane's and John's accounts of what happened vary dramatically. According to John, there was no digital penetration; it was Jane who made the sexual advances and was hurt and upset that he had rejected them.

Jane filed a sexual misconduct complaint with the university, and in June 2017, a Title IX hearing panel found John responsible and suspended him from the university. Since there were no witnesses, this case turns—as so many such cases do—on the credibility of the two parties.

But according to John's complaint, university administrators denied him the ability to effectively challenge Jane's credibility, refusing to ask many of the questions he submitted for cross-examination (Like many schools, Penn State's process for cross-examination in sexual misconduct cases involves submitting proposed questions to be asked by the hearing panel).

John was not able to ask why Jane had never provided the university with the medical report she received when she had gone for a medical examination in the days following the incident—a detail that Jane only revealed to the university's investigator months into the investigation. Given Jane's claim of physical injury from her encounter with John, that report was highly relevant. The hearing panel, however, refused to ask Jane any questions about it, labeling it "new information" and "irrelevant."

Brann disagreed. Noting "the importance of cross-examination when the outcome of a disciplinary hearing is ultimately dependent on credibility-based determinations," Brann ruled that "Penn State's failure to ask the questions submitted by Doe may contribute to a violation of Doe's right to due process as a 'significant and unfair deviation' from its procedures."

Brann also criticized the university for failing to provide the hearing panel with the investigator's report five days in advance of the hearing as required by university policy. The university's investigator had also redacted statements John had made in his defense from her final report, depriving the hearing panel of the opportunity to consider those statements.

When adjudicating claims of student misconduct, sexual or otherwise, a university's goal should be to ascertain, to the best of its ability, the truth about what actually happened. Yet so many institutions take steps—such as excluding important evidence and refusing to consider relevant new information—that serve only to obfuscate the truth.

At least eleven new student due process lawsuits have been filed in the past two months alone. Until universities reform their hearing processes, this flurry of litigation by accused students is certain to continue.

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  1. At least eleven new student due process lawsuits have been filed in the past two months alone.

    That’s eleven more students who are pro-rape.

    1. Maybe they weren’t before they were accused by a self-important little twunt, but I bet they fantasize about it now….

  2. In a free society, allegations of sexual harassment are dismissed and treated with nothing but disdain.

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  3. Rebukes by a judge are meaningless. Universities have learned that they can do whatever the fuck they want, and nothing will ever come of it. Even in the age of Drumpf, they know they can stall a serious judge until the next Democrat gets into office to order the judge to lay off.

    These people do not live in the real world, they don’t have to follow real world rules.

    1. Maybe enough 7 figure settlements will clue them in.

  4. University bureaucrats are not competent to adjudicate criminal charges in any way, shape or form. If they believe someone has committed a crime, they should call the cops and report it, just like any other person should. IF someone has been convicted of a crime or misdemeanor, they should expel that person. Until and unless that happens, it’s none of their business.

    -jcr

    1. But, but, but what about her FEEEEEELLIIIIINGS?!?!?!

      If she changes her mind about him later, then that changes EVERYTHING. She now FEELS that she was raped! Consent isn’t irrevocable. And making her see the man she changed her mind about walking around free to rape again before he is convicted (even if criminal charges are not filed) is harassment.

      Why do you hate women?

    2. IF someone has been convicted of a crime or misdemeanor, they should expel that person

      I think expulsion for a misdemeanor may be a bit harsh. Maybe suspending them for a semester for a first offense would be more appropriate, depending on the misdemeanor.

    3. College admins are going to be more scared of the judiciary slapping them down or the Dept of Ed pulling student financial aid from them? They were not entirely doing this because they are not all true believers in that there is a rampant rape culture.

      1. I feel like kind of a broken record, but not even a little bit mutually exclusive.

    4. Misdemeanors should be expelled? So… people who get speeding tickets or jay walking violations should be expelled? Don’t think there would be anyone left in college at that point. You might want to rethink your position, it doesn’t seem terribly well thought out.

  5. “John forcibly put his finger inside Jane’s vagina, leaving her “bleeding a little.”

    She was on the rag?

  6. So why doesn’t Brann put the entire school administration in jail for contempt of court?
    Nothing else is going to work.

  7. This is totally fucked. There were no witnesses and apparently no fucking medical report (not that it should have changed anything anyway) and they basically just fucked this guy over anyway. This is so fucking immoral and it’s a fucking blatant violation of title IX itself. He’s presumed guilty and expelled just because he’s a man. If you’re a man raped while incapacitated, you’re still declared fucking guilty. Men need to start filing counter claims of sexual assault and suing on every fucking case. Destroy these soulless m’fers.

    1. I’m seriously contemplating going back to school for the express purpose of baiting one of these moronically run institutions into the position of paying me out on a huge settlement. By the looks of things, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

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    1. How did you know to post here?

  9. I haven’t read the article (I have as little as possible to do with colleges), I just wanted to point out that its by sam harris.


  10. When adjudicating claims of student misconduct, sexual or otherwise, a university’s goal should be to ascertain, to the best of its ability, the truth about what actually happened. Yet so many institutions take steps?such as excluding important evidence and refusing to consider relevant new information?that serve only to obfuscate the truth.

    Or maybe just refer them to the cops, since a University isn’t even tangentially involved in law enforcement. Shall Universities also start their own murder investigations without mentioning it to the police?

    Maybe in Libertopia, but in the real world this seems utterly retarded.

  11. Perhaps the relevant decision making authorities at Penn State need to spend a couple weeks in the hoosegow for their contempt – 24/7!

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