Campus Press Release Sexual Assault

PR: 23 Cornell Law Profs Support Suspended Student in Sexual Assault Appeal

Telephone: 301-801-0608


23 Cornell Law Profs Support Suspended Student in Sexual Assault Appeal

WASHINGTON / April 3, 2018 – Twenty-three Cornell Law School professors have requested to file an Amicus Brief in support of a student who was accused of campus sexual assault and later suspended. The Cornell statement is the fourth statement from law professors calling for the restoration of due process rights on campus.

Two Cornell students had a sexual encounter in August of 2016. The woman filed a complaint, claiming she had consumed too much alcohol to give valid consent. The university panel later recommended that the male student, “John Doe,” be suspended for two years. The student has now appealed the suspension to the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court, which is the intermediary appeals court in that state.

The crux of the appeal is the right of a student to cross-examine his accuser. The male student submitted a series of questions to the university panel to be answered by the woman. But Cornell refused to forward any of the questions, thereby negating the student’s right to cross-examination.

The professors’ Statement of Interest notes, “we have an interest in ensuring that Cornell’s procedures are interpreted properly and applied fairly and faithfully. And, as is explained below, we believe that in this case, a Cornell disciplinary hearing panel failed to comply with an important procedural safeguard clearly set out in Cornell’s Title IX policy – the right of an accused student to have a disciplinary hearing panel conduct inquiry of his accuser about proper topics that he proposed.” (1)

The Cornell professors’ Motion to File Amicus Brief is the fourth public statement by law professors in support of due process in campus sexual assault cases. The other letters were filed by law professors from Harvard Law School (2), University of Pennsylvania (3), and from other universities (4).

In 86 cases, judges have ruled in favor of accused students who have filed lawsuits against their universities (5). SAVE anticipates that professors from other law schools will offer statements in support of campus due process.



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