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Campus Title IX Victim-Centered Investigations

PR: SAVE Calls for Major Reforms to Campus ‘Victim-Centered’ Investigations

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Contact: Nasheia Conway

Telephone: 301-801-0608


Following USC ‘motherf—er’ Case, SAVE Calls for Major Reforms to Campus ‘Victim-Centered’ Investigations

WASHINGTON / January 12, 2018 – Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White recently issued a ruling regarding a sexual assault case in which she concluded the university’s investigative procedures lacked fairness and impartiality. Based on this case and similar ones at other universities, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is now calling on college administrators to end the practice of using guilt-presuming “victim-centered” investigations.

University of Southern California investigator Patrick Noonan submitted an investigative report that omitted more than 150 pages of communications between the parties. The investigator failed to interview the man’s roommate, despite the accused student’s request. Noonan also organized the numerous text messages in non-chronological order, rendering their meaning difficult to decipher.

Following a subsequent teleconference between the university officials and the accused student and his advisor, neither party hung up the line. Thereupon Noonan and the USC Title IX coordinator chatted between themselves, referring to the male student as a “motherfucker” and commenting that the accuser was “so cute and intelligent.”

The expelled student filed a lawsuit against the university. Not surprisingly, the judge concluded the accused student was a victim of a process that was not “fair, thorough, reliabl[y] neutral, and impartial.”

This week SAVE is releasing a new Special Report, “’Believe the Victim:’ The Transformation of Justice.” The report traces the evolution of the “victim-centered” movement over the past decade and documents its incompatibility with recognized investigative methods that are premised on objectivity, neutrality, and fairness.

The report concludes, “Victim advocates’ efforts to assure serious consideration and respectful treatment for complainants are commendable. But demanding that investigators and adjudicators reflexively “believe the victim” places a priority on subjective feelings over objective evidence.”

A previous SAVE report documented how victim-centered investigations represent a liability risk for colleges and universities:

SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments) is working for fair and effective solutions to campus sexual assault: