Campus Due Process Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Title IX

Florida Enacts New Campus Due Process Law

Florida Enacts New Campus Due Process Law


June 30, 2021

Recently Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed HB 233, which mandates a number of due process protections, among other things. The law amends Section 1006.60 of the Florida Statutes, which pertains to Codes of conduct and disciplinary measures. The law provides for the following:

    1. Timely and detailed notice
    2. Access to all inculpatory and exculpatory information
    3. List of witnesses
    4. Presumption of innocence
    5. Impartial hearing officer
    6. Right to remain silent
    7. Right of the accused to present evidence and witnesses
    8. Active assistance of an adviser, who has the right to present evidence and question witnesses
    9. Right to appeal
    10. Accurate and complete record of the proceedings

The actual language of the bill, including line numbers, is shown below.

(3) The codes of conduct shall be published on the Florida
196 College System institution’s or state university’s website,
197 protect the rights of all students, and, at minimum, provide the
198 following due process protections to students and student
199 organizations:
200 (a) The right to timely written notice. The code must
201 require that the institution or university provide a student or
202 student organization with timely written notice of the student’s
203 or student organization’s alleged violation of the code of
204 conduct. The notice must include sufficient detail and be
205 provided with sufficient time to prepare for any disciplinary
206 proceeding.
207 1. The written notice must include the allegations to be
208 investigated, the citation to the specific provision of the code
209 of conduct at issue, the process to be used in determining
210 whether a violation has occurred and associated rights, and the
211 date, time, and location of the disciplinary proceeding.
212 2. The written notice is considered timely if it is
213 provided at least 7 business days before the disciplinary
214 proceeding and may be provided by delivery to the student’s
215 institutional e-mail address, and if the student is under 18
216 years of age, to the student’s parent or to the student
217 organization’s e-mail address.
218 3. At least 5 business days before the disciplinary
219 proceeding, the institution or university must provide the
220 student or student organization with:
221 a. A listing of all known witnesses that have provided, or
222 will provide, information against the student or student
223 organization.
224 b. All known information relating to the allegation,
225 including inculpatory and exculpatory information.
226 (b) The right to a presumption that no violation occurred.
227 The institution has the burden to prove, by a preponderance of
228 the evidence, that a violation has taken place. Preponderance of
229 the evidence means that the information presented supports the
230 finding that it is more likely than not that the violation of
231 the code of conduct was committed by the student or student
232 organization.
233 (c) The right to an impartial hearing officer.
234 (d) The right against self-incrimination and the right to
235 remain silent. Such silence may not be used against the student
236 or student organization.
237 (e) The right to present relevant information and question
238 witnesses.
239 (f) The right to an advisor or advocate who may not serve
240 in any other role, including as an investigator, decider of
241 fact, hearing officer, member of a committee or panel convened
242 to hear or decide the charge, or any appeal.
243 (g) The right to have an advisor, advocate, or legal
244 representative, at the student’s or student organization’s own
245 expense, present at any proceeding, whether formal or informal.
246 Such person may directly participate in all aspects of the
247 proceeding, including the presentation of relevant information
248 and questioning of witnesses.
249 (h) The right to appeal the final decision of the hearing
250 officer, or any committee or panel, directly to the vice
251 president of student affairs, or any other senior administrator
252 designated by the code of conduct, who must hear the appeal and
253 render a final decision. The vice president of student affairs
254 or person designated by the code of conduct to hear the appeal
255 may not have directly participated in any other proceeding
256 related to the charged violation.
257 (i) The right to an accurate and complete record of every
258 disciplinary proceeding relating to the charged violation of the
259 code, including record of any appeal, to be made, preserved, and
260 available for copying upon request by the charged student or
261 student organization.
262 (j) A provision setting a time limit for charging a
263 student or student organization with a violation of the code of
264 conduct, and a description of those circumstances in which that
265 time limit may be extended or waived.


Campus Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Title IX

Impartial Investigations Are the Foundation of Equitable Proceedings for Complainants and Respondents

Impartial Investigations Are the Foundation of Equitable Proceedings for Complainants and Respondents

An impartial and fair investigation is the foundation of an equitable adjudication. In a recent guidance, the Office for Civil Rights reaffirmed, “The school must conduct an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation that provides the parties with an equal opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence.”[1]

Because the investigative process is subject to less oversight than the adjudication, investigative bias can be difficult to discern. Unfortunately, biased investigative philosophies known as “victim-centered,”[2] “trauma-informed,”[3] or “Start By Believing”[4] are believed to be commonly utilized in campus investigations. These conviction-oriented philosophies presume the guilt of the respondent and engender confirmation bias.[5]

Trauma-informed concepts, in particular, have been derided as circular and unscientific:

  • Title IX: The Big Mess on Campus[6]
  • Title IX and “Trauma-Focused” Investigations: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly[7]
  • Best-Practice Interviewing Spans Many Contexts[8]
  • Title IX Investigations: The Importance of Training Investigators in Evidence-Based Approaches to Interviewing[9]

Flawed campus investigations have shortchanged both complainants and the accused. At Baylor University in Texas, for example, complainants reported alleged assaults to the athletic coaches of the accused harassers, but those claims were ignored and not investigated.[10]

For these reasons, the 2020 Title IX regulation contains essential language about the need for truthful investigations:[11]

A recipient must ensure that Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any persons who facilitate an informal resolution process, receive training on….. how to serve impartially, including avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias… recipient also must ensure that investigators receive training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence. Any materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process, must not rely on sex stereotypes and must promote impartial investigations and adjudications of formal complaints of sexual harassment. [emphasis added]

In 2019, SAVE established an online petition devoted to the need for impartial campus investigations. [12] To date, 5,131 persons have signed the petition.[13]

SAVE urges the Office for Civil Rights to retain the existing language at Section 106.45 (b)(1), and to issue additional policy directives designed to rein in guilt-presuming “victim-centered” investigations.


[1] Office for Civil Rights Question (May 13, 2021). Questions and Answers on Civil Rights and School Reopening in the COVID-19 Environment. Question 26.

[2] SAVE (2016), Victim-Centered Investigations: New Liability Risk for Colleges and Universities.

[3] Center for Prosecutor Integrity, Trauma-Informed: Junk Science.

[4] Center for Prosecutor Integrity, Start by Believing: Ideology of Bias.

[5] Simply Psychology (2020). Confirmation Bias.

[6] Garry, Maryanne. Title IX: The Big Mess on Campus. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (8, 2019): 411-412.

[7] Davis, Deborah & Loftus, Elizabeth. Title IX and “Trauma-Focused” Investigations: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (8, 2019): 403-410.   https://www.saveservices

[8] Brubacher, Sonja P. & Powell, Martine B. Best-Practice Interviewing Spans Many Contexts. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (8, 2019): 398-402.

[9] Meissner, Christian A. & Lyles, Adrienne M. Title IX Investigations: The Importance of Training Investigators in Evidence-Based Approaches to Interviewing. Journal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition (8, 2019): 389-397.

[10] Lavigne, Paula (July 13, 2018), Baylor University settles Title IX lawsuit in which gang rape by up to 8 football players was alleged.

[11] Section 106.45 (b)(1).

[12] SAVE, ‘One of the worst days of my life:’ Stop sham ‘Start By Believing’ investigations. . Accessed June 3, 2021.


Campus Scholarships Sexual Assault Title IX

PR: On Title IX Anniversary, SAVE Deplores Widespread Discrimination of Male Students


Rebecca Stewart: 513-479-3335


On Title IX Anniversary, SAVE Deplores Widespread Discrimination of Male Students

WASHINGTON / June 24, 2021 – June 23 marked the 49th anniversary of the passage of Title IX, which was enacted in 1972 to combat sex discrimination in schools. Regrettably, SAVE highlights an epidemic of discriminatory practices against college students who are male — a problem that appears to have worsened in recent years.

Sex-discriminatory practices have been documented at universities and colleges across the nation, including at a number of elite institutions. A recent article, for example, reported that Stanford University supports 33 programs that openly discriminate against males (1).

The sex bias is confirmed by judicial decisions, male-excluding scholarships, and female-only campus programs, which are summarized below.

Judicial Decisions

On June 15, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on a case involving a former student at the University of Denver. The decision revealed a pattern of pervasive unfairness to men: “John highlights that the University failed to formally investigate any of the 21 sexual-misconduct complaints brought by men from 2016 to 2018…. In sum, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to John, we are satisfied that a reasonable jury could find that John’s sex was a motivating factor in the University’s decision to expel him.” (2)

Other appellate court rulings of prejudicial campus practices against men are: Does 1-2 v. Regents of the Univ. of Minnesota, Schwake v. Arizona Bd. of Regents, Doe v. Oberlin College, Doe v. University of Arkansas-Fayetteville, Doe v. University of Mississippi, and Doe v. Columbia University. Nineteen trial court decisions have confirmed anti-male bias, as well (3).

Male-Excluding Scholarships

Title IX’s implementing regulation, 34 CFR 106, prohibits schools from offering scholarships that, “On the basis of sex, provide different amounts or types of such assistance, limit eligibility for such assistance which is of any particular type or source, apply different criteria, or otherwise discriminate.” University responsiveness to federal investigations of alleged Title IX violations has ranged from cooperative to resistant.

On April 22, 2020, for example, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opened a Title IX investigation against the University of Idaho for offering 14 scholarships that were restricted to or stated a preference for female students. On June 22, 2021, the OCR concluded its investigation after the university altered its criteria for scholarship awards in order to comply with Title IX requirements.

In contrast, institutions such as Tulane University apparently have not acted in good faith. On June 18, 2018, a complaint was filed with OCR alleging Tulane was treating men unfairly by “discriminating in the provision of financial assistance of the basis of sex.” As a result, the university signed a voluntary resolution agreement promising it would cease the illegal actions by September 6, 2019. (4) Unfortunately, a 2020 follow-up review revealed the university was offering 10 female-specific scholarships, but only three scholarships for male students. In response, the OCR opened a new investigation of the recalcitrant university.

The Office for Civil Rights currently has 140 open investigations of universities for scholarships that exclude male students (5).

Female-Only Programs

A number of universities have established a variety of programs that cater exclusively to females. University of Michigan professor Mark Perry has filed hundreds of Title IX complaints against schools that sponsor leadership institutes, fellowships, summer programs, and other initiatives that openly discriminate against men (6).

Former Department of Education official Adam Kissel has documented the irony of Joe Biden’s alma mater, the University of Delaware, a school that “pervasively discriminates in favor of women and against men.” Most of the violations lie with its Lerner College’s Women’s Leadership Initiative, Kissel notes (7).

The Office for Civil Rights currently has 98 open investigations of universities for programs that exclude male students (8). This number is likely to increase as the OCR processes newly filed Title IX complaints.

Praise for Cardona’s Recent Statement

SAVE applauds Secretary Miguel Cardona’s recent affirmation that Title IX is “the strongest tool we have to protect every student’s right to equal access to educational opportunities free from sex discrimination.” (9) And universities that discriminate against men have become a focus of numerous media accounts (10).

Currently, males constitute only 43% of all undergraduate students (11). If universities were to institute sex-specific programs, their efforts logically should be focused on helping men.


  5. In the Type of Discrimination box, select “Title IX – Single Sex Scholarships”. As of May 28, 2021.
  8. In the Type of Discrimination box, select “Title IX – Single Sex Campus Programs”. As of May 28, 2021).
Campus Sexual Assault Title IX

Case Summary: Doe v. University of Denver

Case Summary: Doe v. University of Denver

No. 19-1359 (10th Cir. 2021)

 Christian Cooper

Juris Doctor Candidate

Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

Brief Factual Summary

During John Doe’s (“John”) first year at the University of Denver (the “University”), he became romantically involved with Jane Roe. For months, the two discussed having sexual intercourse but never did so. The two also discussed being in an exclusive relationship, but John was not interested in dating Jane, and began to try to distance himself from her.

One night, an intoxicated Jane ran into an intoxicated John. Jane led John to her dorm room. The two kissed and touched each other. John could not recall what happened that night, but remembered that he and Jane took their clothes off and tried unsuccessfully to have sexual intercourse.

Jane and John dispute what happened the next morning. John said him and Jane had consensual sex, while Jane accused John of having sex with her without her consent. Jane decided to report what happened to her when she found out John told students of their sexual encounter. Jane admits that she made the report for this reason. John was not made aware of the specific allegations against him until the University issued a Preliminary Report of John and Jane’s encounter. The Final Report found John more likely than not engaged in non-consensual sexual contact with Jane. The University did not hear his appeal saying it did not meet the appeal criteria.

Procedural History

John Doe sued the University of Denver in the District Court of Colorado alleging violations of (1) Title IX, (2) procedural due process under the 14th Amendment, (3) breach of contract, (4) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (5) promissory estoppel, and (6) negligence. The District Court of Colorado granted Summary Judgment to the University on all claims. John appealed on the grounds that (1) there is clear evidence to create a genuine dispute of material fact as to his Title IX claim and (2) the district court erred in failing to analyze his Title IX claim under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework.


John alleges the District Court improperly applied part three of the McDonnell Douglas summary judgment standard thus improperly granting summary judgment in favor of the University.


The District Court of Colorado improperly applied the McDonnell Douglas summary judgment standard.

If there is a one-sided investigation plus some evidence of sex bias, it should be up to a jury to determine whether sex bias exists.

Summary Judgment Standard (McDonnell Douglas) – See Doe v. University of Denver, No. 19-1359, at *13-14.

  1. John Doe has the burden of showing that his sex was a motivating factor in the school’s investigation and disciplinary proceeding
  2. If John clears that hurdle, the burden shifts to the University to articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for its decision.
  3. If the University succeeds, then the burden shifts back to John to show there is a genuine issue of a material fact as to whether the proffered reason is pretextual.

Applying McDonnell Douglas

  1. “John raised a reasonable inference that the University’s one-sided investigation establishes a prima facie case of sex discrimination. In other words, John has sufficiently shown evidence of differential conduct that plausibly was on the basis of his sex.” at *18.
  2. “[T]he University posits a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for its conduct: the University employees were bias against sexual-misconduct respondents, regardless of their sex.” at *19.
  3. “[The Court] assess[es] whether John has produced enough evidence to raise an inference that the University’s proffered explanation is pretextual – that is, covering up sex-based discrimination. We concluded that John has satisfied his burden [because of the one-sided University investigation plus evidence of sex bias.]”
    1. The University investigation was one-sided because:
      1. “The Final Report acknowledges Jane had chosen what pages of the SANE report to provide and had omitted potentially important exculpatory information[.]” Id. at *23.
      2. “[I]nvestigators interviewed eleven witnesses proposed by [the accuser] Jane but initially refused to interview all five witnesses proffered by [the accused] John.” Id. at *20.
      3. “In addition to Jane’s conflicting accounts of the alleged assault, the record reveals several examples of Jane making inconsistent statements about other matters to John, her classmates, and the investigators.” Id. at *21-22.
      4. “In fact, as [the accused] John points out, Jane told an array of inconsistent stories about the alleged incident . . . [a]nd none of [Jane’s] witness accounts completely align with the story [Jane] told investigators.” Id. at *23.
    2. The University was biased towards men because:
      1. “John does not simply raise the disparity in the gender makeup of the complainants and respondents. He also points to a number of other statistical [evidence] that raise at least a fair inference of anti-male bias.” Id. at *26.
      2. “First, John highlights that the University failed to formally investigate any of the twenty-one sexual-misconduct complaints brought by men from 2016 to 2018. In contrast, during that same period, there were about 105 complaints brought by women, fourteen of which were formally investigated by the University.” Id. at *26-27.
      3. “Moreover, from 2016 to 2018, the University received five complaints brought against a female. Four of those complainants were male and one was female. The University did not formally investigate the four male-initiated complaints but did investigate the female-initiated complaint.” Id. at *27.


“In sum, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to John, we are satisfied that a reasonable jury could find that John’s sex was a motivating factor in the University’s decision to expel him.” Id. at *29.

Significant Quote

“[W]here there is a one-sided investigation plus some evidence that sex may have played a role in the school’s disciplinary decision, it should be up to a jury to determine whether the school’s bias was based on a protected trait or merely a non-protected trait that breaks down across gender lines.” Id. at *29-30.

Campus Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Title IX

Campus Due Process Enjoys Strong Support from the Public At Large

Campus Due Process Enjoys Strong Support from the Public At Large


June 22, 2021

From 2015 to 2020, five national public opinion polls were conducted to gauge the level of public support for campus due process. Following is a summary of these polls, in reverse chronological order:

  1. A YouGov poll commissioned by SAVE surveyed a representative sample of 2,806 persons on November 12-16, 2020:[1]

Percent of respondents who agreed:

  • Students accused of crimes on college campuses should receive the same civil liberties protections from their colleges that they receive in the court system: 68%
  • Students accused of sexual assault on college campuses should be punished only if there is clear and convincing evidence that they are guilty of a crime: 75%
  • Students accused of sexual assault on college campuses should have the right to know the charges against them before being called to defend themselves: 80%
  • Allegations of sexual assault on campus should be primarily handled by the state or local police: 68%

A secondary analysis according to party affiliation revealed similar levels of support among Democrats and Republicans.[2] The survey used the same questions and methods as the 2017 poll conducted for the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy — see 5. below.

  1. A national survey conducted May 20-25, 2020 by a Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll of 1,003 adults asked, “Assume you or someone you loved reported being sexually assaulted while attending a college or university. Please tell me if you would favor or oppose each of the following:” [3]
  • “A live court-room style hearing for the accused and accuser to meet and cross examine each other and any witnesses with the assistance of attorneys.” 62% of respondents favored, 31% opposed, 7% didn’t know
  • “The opportunity for the accused and accuser to cross examine each other and any witnesses remotely with the assistance of attorneys so that they would not have to be face to face.” 67% of respondents favored, 28% opposed, 5% didn’t know, 1% refused.
  1. A 2018 survey of 2,225 undergraduate students sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education found widespread support for due process in sexual assault cases:[4]
  • 80% support the presumption of innocence
  • 68% support cross-examination
  • 72% support a unanimous decision required for expulsion
  1. A Rasmussen poll conducted in September, 2017 found that 73% of American adults agreed with the statement, “Every survivor of sexual misconduct must be taken seriously. Every student accused of sexual misconduct must know that guilt is not predetermined.” Six percent disagreed, and 20% were not sure how they felt about the statement.[5]
  2. A poll by the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy conducted July 25-August 1, 2017 of 1,200 persons reported these results:[6] Percent of respondents who agreed:
  • Students accused of crimes on college campuses should receive the same civil liberties protections from their colleges that they receive in the court system: 67%
  • Students accused of sexual assault on college campuses should have the right to cross-examine their accusers: 61%
  • Students accused of sexual assault on college campuses should be punished only if there is clear and convincing evidence that they are guilty of a crime: 71%
  • Students accused of sexual assault on college campuses should have the right to know the charges against them before being called to defend themselves: 81%
  • Allegations of sexual assault on campus should be primarily handled by the state or local police: 69%

In conclusion, due process and fairness are not partisan issues. They are quintessentially American values.


[1] SAVE (Nov. 16, 2020), YouGov Poll on Campus Due Process.

[2] SAVE (Nov. 18, 2020), YouGov Poll with Political Party Identification.

[3] Fairleigh Dickinson University (June 29, 2020), Americans Unsure About Title IX Changes to Colleges and Universities but Support Fairness and Consistency.

[4] FIRE (June 2018), Proceeding Accordingly: What Students Think about Due Process on Campus.

[5] Rasmussen Reports (Sept. 13, 2017), Most Americans Agree With DeVos on Sexual Misconduct on Campuses.

[6] Bucknell Institute for Public Policy (Sept. 2017), Perceptions of Higher Education Survey – Topline Results.

Campus Due Process Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Title IX

Professor’s Lawsuit Against JMU Highlights Necessity of Campus Due Process Protections

Professor’s Lawsuit Against JMU Highlights Necessity of Campus Due Process Protections

Michael B. Miley

June 21, 2021

Allegations of sexual misconduct or sexual assault are serious charges that demand a serious and consistent process for the investigation and deliberation as to the fault, or lack thereof, assigned to the accused.  Even if a wrongly accused person does not face a severe and visceral punishment such as prison, a finding of fault by an officially-sanctioned institutional authority—particularly as it relates to sexual misconduct—can devastate a person’s life by potentially destroying their professional reputation and private relationships.  All individuals, and groups of individuals, can find assurance in procedures that ensure the law applies to everyone equally.

Campus adjudicative systems have long been criticized by legal scholars for lacking basic procedural protections for the accused, but in 2011, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights issued new guidance for how universities must handle allegations of sexual assault, which has brought those procedural concerns into much greater focus.  The guidance document, known as the “Dear Colleague Letter,” required universities to adopt a “preponderance of the evidence” standard (greater than 50 percent chance allegation is true), granted accusers the right to appeal a university’s finding of no-fault/not guilty, and encouraged universities to restrict an accuser’s right to cross-examination.

Thus, a situation was created where universities—ill-equipped to prosecute sexual misconduct in the first place—faced serious pressure by the federal government to return findings of guilt or responsibility for those accused of sexual misconduct, as too many not guilty verdicts could result in loss of federal funds for non-compliance with agency directives.

A recent federal complaint filed in Virginia is illustrative as to how this process can railroad an individual totally without merit, and why then, due process protections necessarily improve the Title IX process.  In 2015, the complainant, Alyssa Reid, a nationally recognized debater, and professor at James Madison University began a romantic relationship with Kathryn Lese, a female graduate TA who Reid did not supervise and who did not work in Reid’s department.  Indeed, one year into their relationship, an anonymous complaint prompted a Title IX investigation by JMU, which cleared Reid of any wrongdoing in her relationship with Lese for precisely those reasons.

Two years later, their relationship ended on less than pleasant terms and Lese began sending Reid abusive text messages with threats to “ruin” Reid’s career.  Lese then gave a statement to JMU’s Title IX office that did not meet the standard necessary for a formal complaint; it did not allege that their relationship was non-consensual, unwelcome, or negatively impactful to her education.  Reid alleges that JMU discriminated against her because of her sex and sexual orientation when they improperly accepted Lese’s complaint, did not inform Reid of the complaint against her for two months, applied the wrong version of JMU’s Title IX policy to her case, and imposed sanctions on Reid prior to the consummation of the Title IX investigation, hearing, and appeals process; furthermore, there were no representatives of the LGBTQ community on Reid’s hearing panel, and during the hearing, she could not cross-examine Lese and Lese’s witnesses, and was prevented from presenting her own witnesses.

Reid is recognized by students for using her rhetorical skills and communicative abilities to give voice to marginalized individuals and groups, and her voice has been silenced now because of an unstructured process that turned Reid into an unperson: guilty, with no way to prove her innocence.

Often when faced with difficult choices, or a seeming crisis scenario—especially when the government confirms the existence of said crisis—the temptation to temporarily (at least at first) ignore or weaken procedural protections, or components of procedural protections, that are, or may appear to be, impediments to speedy dispositions and decisive institutional action.

The social, economic, and political benefits all Americans receive from the procedural safeguards of our legal system, however, must not be forgotten or ignored.  Indeed, if there are concerns from society, or certain segments of society that government mandated adjudicative systems are not achieving their espoused ideal of “equal justice under law,” the answer is not to dispose of the entire system, and all the protections inherent to it, but rather the answer is to look for ways these due process rights can be strengthened and applied to extrajudicial adjudicative bodies.


[1] See Samantha Harris & KC Johnson, Campus Courts in Court: The Rise in Judicial Involvement in Campus Sexual Misconduct Adjudications, 22 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol’y 49, 53 (2019).


Campus Due Process Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Title IX

Strong Due Process Protections Are Essential for the Protection of Vulnerable Campus Groups

Strong Due Process Protections Are Essential for the Protection of Vulnerable Campus Groups


June 17, 2021

Due process protections are especially important to assure the rights of vulnerable groups such as LGBT persons, racial minorities, disabled students, and immigrants:[1]

LGBT Groups

Former James Madison University faculty member and speech coach Alyssa Reid was accused by her former female partner of a “non-consensual relationship.” Reid eventually was held responsible for violating the university’s Title IX policy. Reid recounted movingly,[2]

“When you’re accused of sexual misconduct, it’s fundamentally different. It’s something that critiques the nature of who you are to your core, that sticks with you forever….JMU did not provide me with due process. It provided me with the illusion of due process….This hearing has ruined my life. This hearing ruined my dream. I have helped students find their place in the world. And the irony now is that I’m lost.”

Reid recently filed a lawsuit against James Madison University alleging multiple due process violations.[3]

In a second case, a male student at Brandeis University filed a complaint against his former male partner, alleging non-consensual sexual interactions. Even though the men had been in a long-term relationship, the campus investigator treated each sexual incident as if the men were strangers to each other, leading to a campus finding of “responsibility.” In a milestone decision, Judge Dennis Saylor vindicated the accused student, opining,[4]

“If a college student is to be marked for life as a sexual predator, it is reasonable to require that he be provided a fair opportunity to defend himself, and an impartial arbiter to make that decision.”

Saylor also noted that Brandeis had forced the accused student to:

“defend himself in what was essentially an inquisitorial proceeding that plausibly failed to provide him with a fair and reasonable opportunity to be informed of the charges and to present an adequate defense.”


During a 2015 Senate hearing on campus sexual assault, Harvard Law Professor Janet Halley made the observation that in her experience, “male students of color are accused and punished at ‘unreasonably high rates’ in campus sexual misconduct investigations.”[5] Two years later, journalist Emily Yoffe posed this question in The Atlantic: “Is the system biased against men of color?” explaining, “black men make up only about 6 percent of college undergraduates, yet are vastly overrepresented in the cases I’ve tracked.”[6]

Black faculty members also have been targeted in campus Title IX proceedings. The nation’s first elected black governor, former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder, penned a scathing letter regarding his “unimaginable nightmare at Virginia Commonwealth University” after he was erroneously accused of sexual misconduct.[7]

In 2017, the Office for Civil Rights investigated Colgate University for potential race discrimination in its sexual assault adjudication processes. During the course of the investigation, the institution had to reveal the fact that “black male students were accused of 50% of the sexual violations reported to the university,”[8] even though black students represent only 5.2% of all undergraduate students.

More recently, Title IX For All analyzed demographic data from the approximately 650 lawsuits filed against institutions of higher education since 2011. Among the 30% of cases in which the race of the accused student was known, black students are four times as likely as white students to file lawsuits alleging their rights were violated in Title IX disciplinary proceedings.[9]

Learning Disabled Students

Because learning disabled students may have a more difficult time navigating social relationships, students with autism and other learning disabilities are at greater risk of accusations of sexual misconduct.[10],[11],[12],[13],[14] These articles reveal a pressing need for policy guidance to clarify the interface between Title IX and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Following is an illustrative case from New York:

Jason Doherty, a student at the State University of New York, Purchase had been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and was classified as a disabled student. During freshman orientation, Doherty had a contentious interaction with three female students, resulting in a no-contact order being issued against the man. As a result, Doherty alleged that the order interfered with his academic success, and that he suffered from anxiety and depression as a result.

In his lawsuit against the institution, Doherty alleged that, “Defendants did not take into account [Plaintiff’s] disability when issuing the no contact orders, nor did they consider whether the no contact orders were being requested in an effort to tease and bully [Plaintiff] because of his disability.’”[15] The judge ruled that Doherty’s allegations of failure to accommodate were sufficient to sustain the ADA claim.

In the words of Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Suzanne B. Goldberg, “Our nation’s civil rights laws require fair and nondiscriminatory school discipline practices, yet we have data that show concerning disparities based on race, sex, and disability in the administration of discipline.”[16] To end this wave of discrimination, the due process rights of vulnerable groups on campus need to be affirmed, protected, and vigorously defended.


[1] Raul Jauregui (June 2, 2021), Title IX Needs to Protect Every Student Present in the US, Including Dreamers.

[2] New Civil Liberties Alliance, Alyssa Reid v. James Madison University, et al.

[3] New Civil Liberties Alliance, Alyssa Reid v. James Madison University, et al.

[4] Doe v. Brandeis University, 177 F. Supp. 3d 561 (D. Mass. 2016).

[5] G. Piper (Aug. 4, 2015). Shut out of sexual-assault hearing, critics of pro-accuser legislation flood Senate committee with testimony.

[6] Emily Yoffe (Sept. 11, 2017). The Question of Race in Campus Sexual-Assault Cases. The Atlantic.

[7] L. Douglas Wilder (June 3, 2020). Secretary DeVos Right to Restore Due Process on Campus. The Roanoke Times.

[8] Soave, Robby (Sept. 14, 2017). We Need to Talk About Black Students Being Accused of Rape Under Title IX. Reason.

[9] Title IX for All (July 6, 2020). Plaintiff Demographics in Accused Student Lawsuits.

[10] William Russell (Jan. 1, 2017). Sexual Misconduct on Campus: A Brief Introduction to Title IX Guidelines and Policies for Parents and Caregivers. Autism Spectrum News.

[11] Lee Burdette Williams (Feb. 8, 2018), The Nexus of Autism and Title IX. Inside Higher Ed.

[12] Susan Stone & Kristina Supler (July 12, 20218), ‘I Don’t Get It:’ Why College Students with Autism are Vulnerable to Charges of Sexual Misconduct.

[13] Michael Allen (Dec. 20, 2018), Disability Rights and Title IX.

[14] Golub, David (May 9, 2021), How Will Title IX Policies Affect Autistic Students? SAVE.

[15] Doherty v. Bice, No. 18-CV-10898 (NSR), 2020 WL 5548790, *8 (S.D.N.Y. Sept. 16, 2020)

[16] Department of Education (June 4, 2021), U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Seeks Information on the Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline.’s%20civil%20rights%20laws,in%20the%20administration%20of%20discipline.

Believe the Victim Campus Department of Justice Investigations Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Start By Believing Title IX Trauma Informed Victim-Centered Investigations

PR: Railroading the Innocent: 5,200+ Petition Signers Demand an End to ‘Victim-Centered’ Investigations


Rebecca Stewart: 513-479-3335


Railroading the Innocent: 5,200+ Petition Signers Demand an End to ‘Victim-Centered’ Investigations

WASHINGTON / June 16, 2021 – An online petition is demanding an end to the use of so-called “victim-centered” investigative methods. “Victim-centered” approaches serve to remove the presumption of innocence and tilt the investigation in favor of the complainant (1). Such investigative philosophies are becoming widespread both in the criminal legal system and on college campuses.

The petition highlights the account of Matt Rolph of New York, who was accused of sexual assault by his former long-term girlfriend. Despite the fact that a jury found him innocent of all charges, Hobart College launched a “victim-centered” investigation that ignored inconsistencies among the witness statements. Rolph sued the college, with Judge Elizabeth Wolford eventually ruling in his favor (2).

Inexplicably, Congress has been supportive of such “victim-centered” methods.

Recently the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1620, which endorses “victim-centered” investigations. The bill defines “victim-centered” as asking questions of a complainant “in a manner that is focused on the experience of the reported victim.” (3) This description is an admission of the biased nature of such investigations, because it says nothing about focusing on the experiences of the defendant, or seeking to verify the truth (or falsity) of the allegation.

“Start By Believing” is another “victim-centered” philosophy that has enjoyed generous government support. Over the years, the “Start By Believing” sponsor has received $9.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Justice and other sources (4).

“Trauma-informed” is yet another victim-centered ideology that has been derided as “junk science.” (5)  Healthcare providers now are being instructed in circular “trauma-informed” thinking. According to a New York State nurse who attended one such training, “Current trauma-informed training teaches that a patient who remembers every detail of an incident, or a patient who remembers little to nothing of an incident, both indicate a trauma has occurred.” (6)

Two years ago the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) successfully organized to defeat ABA Resolution 114. The resolution sought to establish an “affirmative consent” standard on the basis of flawed trauma-informed science (7).

The National Registry of Exonerations, which tracks wrongful convictions of the innocent, found that investigative misconduct contributes to 35% of all wrongful convictions. The investigative misconduct includes concealment of evidence, fabrication of evidence, witness tampering, misconduct in interrogations, and making false statements at trial (8).

The names of the petition signers, now numbering 5,278 persons, are available for inspection (9). The online petition continues to accept additional signers:


VAWA Inclusion Mandate Victims Violence Against Women Act

VAWA: Are Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men in US Being Ignored?

Are Missing and Murdered Indigenous Men in US Being Ignored?

By Cecily Hilleary

Voice of America News

WASHINGTON – Hub Binion Williamson, 34, was last seen in April near Hardin, Montana, about 12 miles away from his home on the Crow Indian Reservation.  It was a trip he made almost daily, said his cousin Rachel Reddog. Along the way, she said he stopped at his aunt’s house for a drink of water.  After that, he vanished without a trace, leaving his family devastated.

“It’s like having a huge splinter in your foot,” Reddog said. “Things just aren’t the same.”

Williamson is one of thousands of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) men and boys who are missing or murdered in the U.S. but capture little media attention in the shadow of the greater campaign seeking justice for missing and murdered indigenous women (MMIW).

Faulty reporting

Lissa Yellowbird-Chase, a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, steps in where tribal police have failed to locate the missing.

“I can tell you from what I’ve witnessed personally, that men are murdered and missing more than the women,” she said. “But not all their deaths are reported.”

Medical examiners, she explained, trying to avoid the burdensome paperwork required in homicide cases, may note the cause of death as “overdose” or “alcohol-related” for both men and women.

Several federal agencies collect homicide data, but reporting is mostly voluntary.  Federal law requires police to report all missing juveniles to the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) but not adults.

Currently, only 47 tribes have access to NCIC.

In 2018, the FBI reported more than 9,900 adult and juvenile Native Americans were missing, but did not break them down by gender.

A better-known database is the Justice Department’s (DOJ) National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) that tracks missing, unidentified and unclaimed persons and allows police, medical examiners and families of the missing to post, search and update cases at no charge.  But participation is voluntary, and its data is also incomplete.

As of late September 2019, NaMus listed 404 missing Native Americans — 250 males and 154 females.

Meskee Yatsayte, a Navajo citizen who tracks and shares information on the missing and murdered on Facebook, believes these numbers represent the tip of the iceberg.

“Everybody is talking about MMIW, and that’s good. But our men and boys are missing and murdered in way higher in numbers,” Yatsayte said. “In the Navajo Nation alone, 57 persons are currently missing. Thirty-seven of them are men.”

Legislative remedies

A number of bills have been introduced that would address these issues:

Savanna’s Act would improve tribal access to national databases and require DOJ to develop national guidelines for handling missing and murdered Native Americans and report statistics annually to Congress.

The Bridging Agency Data Gaps & Ensuring Safety (BADGES) for Native Communities Act would improve sharing of law enforcement agency data and boost officer recruitment and retention.

The Not Invisible Act of 2019 would require the DOJ to allocate more resources toward missing and murdered Native Americans based on input from local, tribal and federal leaders.

Congresswoman Deb Haaland, a Democrat from the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, has introduced amendments to the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), which expired in February and is pending reauthorization, that would provide victim advocate services to urban Indians.

In the interim, advocates are calling on the MMIW movement to change their acronym to MMIR — “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Relatives.”

Campus Discrimination Legal Office for Civil Rights

Complaint: MIT discriminates against males and white people through nearly 30 different programs


‘MIT is apparently either unaware of federal civil rights laws, or it thinks it’s above the law’

A complaint has been leveled against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 27 alleged violations of Title VI and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act.

The complaint, authored by University of Michigan-Flint economics Professor Mark Perry, was filed with the Boston-based Office of Civil Rights in late May.

Of the 27 MIT programs cited in the complaint, 24 are alleged to be in violation of Title IX, which protects against discrimination on the basis of sex in schools.

Two other MIT programs are alleged to be in violation of Title VI, which protects against discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin.

And one program is accused by Perry of violating both laws.

Perry has made a habit of filing Civil Rights complaints against public universities, and has filed 326 of this nature since 2016.

But he noted in an email to The College Fix that MIT’s 27 alleged violations “sets a new record for the greatest number of violations I’ve found at a single college or university.”

The complaint came in at 2,300 words and six pages and Perry said there may even be “additional violations that weren’t uncovered.”

“MIT is apparently either unaware of federal civil rights laws, or it thinks it’s above the law,” Perry told The Fix. “Either way [it’s] a pretty sad indictment of MIT.”

Most of the alleged complaints targeted programs that benefited only women and excluded men, such as scholarships, study groups, career networking, graduate-level groups, educational seminars and similar efforts. Several of the programs cited in Perry’s complaint are for middle and high school female students only.

For the Title VI complaints, one benefitted entrepreneurs who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color, or BIPOC, and another is a professional fund for LGBTQ students of color.

The complaint that listed both Title IX and Title VI is MIT’s Women of Color Professional Fund.

The College Fix reached out to MIT’s media relations department for a response to the complaint, but the department, as well as Director Kimberly Allen and Deputy Director Sarah McDonnell, did not reply to requests for comment.

As for Perry, he told The College Fix that as of this week, he has filed complaints against 326 colleges and universities for more than 1,200 Title IX and Title VI violations, and 158 of those complaints have been opened so for federal civil rights investigations, and about 50 investigations have been resolved in his favor.

Perry’s first victory came in 2016 when he successfully got a women-only study lounge changed to an all-student lounge at Michigan State.

As for MIT, Perry said he expected that MIT would “stubbornly fight” to keep its single-sex, female-only programs.

But instead, he added, MIT should either discontinue their discriminatory practices, convert them to co-educational programs for males and females, or introduce equivalent male-only programs to ensure equal access to the same opportunities and funding.

Complaint: MIT discriminates against males and white people through nearly 30 different programs | The College Fix