Contact: Teri Stoddard
Four-fold Increase in Lawsuits Following New Federal Sexual Assault Policy: Report
WASHINGTON / July 1, 2014 – A new SAVE report reveals a sharp increase in the number of lawsuits filed by students alleging they were wrongfully expelled on allegations of sexual assault. Following implementation of a 2011 Department of Education sexual assault policy, the number of lawsuits rose four-fold, the report shows.
From 2008 to 2010, only four lawsuits were filed against universities. But from 2012 to 2014, eighteen cases are known to have been filed, representing a four-fold increase. Nearly all charge the university failed to comply with fundamental due process requirements in adjudicating the claim.
The report is believed to be the most comprehensive listing of campus sex lawsuits ever compiled: www.saveservices.org/wp-content/uploads/Campus-Sexual-Assault-Lawsuits.pdf
The controversial Department of Education mandate requires all allegations of sexual assault to be heard by campus disciplinary panels. The policy also removes a number of due process protections. Over 170 editorials sharply critical of the panels have been published this year: www.accusingu.org
These claims are known to be costly. According to EduRisk, a university insurance company, the average loss for accused students exceeds $183,000 per claim. In one case against Brown University, the college agreed to a $1 million settlement for a student who charged he had been wrongfully expelled.
“Whoever dreamed up the notion that criminal allegations of sexual assault could be handled by a panel that lacks the most basic understanding of due process?” asks SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “The accused, victims, and universities — are all being shortchanged by the current federal mandate.”
SAVE is proposing enactment of a new law entitled “SOS: Safety of Our Students.” The law would require all allegations of campus criminal sexual assault to be referred to local criminal justice authorities: www.saveservices.org/camp/campus-rape-courts/
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments—SAVE—is a civil rights organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence and sexual assault: www.saveservices.org