Men Accused of Sexual Abuse Sue Schools for Title IX Gender Discrimination

Russell Westerholm
August 10, 2013

Two men dismissed from their school for allegations for sexual assault have filed suits against the institutions for Title IX violations in their due process, Inside Higher Ed reported.
The colleges were two of many being accused of not properly reporting and addressing their sexual misconduct cases. However, they are not one of the schools under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

The students claim their school’s administrators violated their rights under the Title IX gender equality law by botching the investigation and campus legal proceedings that led to their expulsion.

To succeed, they must prove their schools, Vassar College and St. Joseph’s University, discriminated against them because of their status as men.

“Title IX protects the victim because it was put in place to do that – because there aren’t other sorts of protection,” said Erin Buzuvis, a professor at Western New England School of Law and founder of the Title IX Blog. “Neither of these students have prevailed in demonstrating what happened to them was sex discrimination.”

Peter Yu’s complaint against Vassar claims the school took his accuser’s story at “face value,” did not take his statement, failed to perform a health examination or rape kit and did not accept supposed Facebook messages in which the victim said he did nothing wrong.

“Vassar has deprived Peter Yu, on the basis of his sex, of his rights to due process and equal protection through the improper administration of and/or the existence, in its current state, of Defendant Vassar’s guidelines and regulations,” Yu’s complaint read. “Vassar’s guidelines and regulations are set up to disproportionately affect the male student population of the Vassar College community as a result of the higher incidence of female complainants of sexual misconduct against male complainants of sexual misconduct.”

Brian Harris’ complaint against St. Joseph’s is similar to Yu’s and makes a lot of the same claims. He said the university, and their careless investigation “creates an environment in which a male accused is so fundamentally denied due process as to be virtually assured of a finding of guilt.”

Both men declined comment, but admitted to having sex with their accusers and claim it was consensual.

The OCR is currently performing a federal investigation of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Occidental College, Swarthmore College and the University of Southern California for accusations of improper handling of sexual misconduct cases.

Yale University has already had penalties levied against it, however, multiple students found guilty of sexual misconduct have been allowed back on campus and received a penalty no harsher than a short suspension and a written reprimand.