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Campus Department of Education Due Process Investigations Office for Civil Rights Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Title IX

Washington & Lee the Worst Offender Among Virginia ‘Kangaroo Courts’

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Contact: Rebecca Stewart

Telephone: 513-479-3335


Washington & Lee the Worst Offender Among Virginia ‘Kangaroo Courts’

WASHINGTON / December 21, 2021 – Seven Virginia schools have been on the losing end of a growing number of judicial decisions for campus sexual harassment cases. The cases involved a broad range of due process and other procedural failings, including a lack of timely notification of allegations, guilt-presuming investigations, overly biased hearings, sex discrimination against male students, and a presumption of guilt.

The school with the largest number of adverse rulings is Washington and Lee University, with two decisions against the institution to date. In the 2015 decision, Judge Norman Moon revealed that campus officials declined to interview some of the respondent’s witnesses because they reportedly had all the facts they needed, revealing a “Queen of Hearts” mentality. (In Lewis Carroll’s classic, Alice in Wonderland, the Queen of Hearts announced to her surprised retinue, “Sentence first—verdict afterwards.”)

In addition, six other Virginia schools have been found by judges to have violated basic due process, fundamental fairness, Title IX, and/or contractual obligations:

  • George Mason University – 1 judicial decision
  • James Madison University – 1
  • Liberty University – 1
  • Marymount University – 1
  • University of Virginia – 1
  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University – 1

Kangaroo Court methods were not limited to Washington and Lee University. In Doe v. Rector & Visitors of George Mason University, the judge highlighted the university’s biased investigative methods and presumption of guilt:

“The undisputed record facts reflect that, as of the time plaintiff was allowed to present his defense before [university investigator] Ericson, Ericson admits that he had ‘prejudged the case and decided to find [plaintiff] responsible’ for sexual assault.”

The Oxford Dictionary defines Kangaroo Court as an unofficial court held “in order to try someone regarded, especially without good evidence, as guilty of a crime or misdemeanor.” More information about these and other judicial decisions is available in SAVE’s Analysis of Judicial Decisions Affirming the 2020 Title IX Regulations:


Case Citations

Name of College No. of Decisions Case Citation (in reverse chronological order)
Washington & Lee University 2 Doe v. Washington & Lee University, No. 6:19-CV-00023, 2021 WL 1520001 (W.D. Va. Apr. 17, 2021)                                                                    Doe v. Washington & Lee University, No. 6:14-CV-00052, 2015 WL 4647996 (W.D. Va. Aug. 5, 2015)
George Mason University 1 Doe v. Rector & Visitors of George Mason University, 149 F. Supp. 3d 602 (E.D. Va. Feb. 25, 2016)
James Madison University 1 Doe v. Alger, 228 F. Supp. 3d 713 (W.D. Va. Dec. 23, 2016)
Liberty University 1 Jackson v. Liberty University, no. 6:17-cv-00041-NKM-RSB (W.D. Va. Aug. 3, 2017)
Marymount University 1 Doe v. Marymount University, 297 F. Supp. 3d 573 (E.D. Va. Mar. 14, 2018)
University of Virginia 1 Doe v. Rector & Visitors of University of Virginia, No. 3:19CV00038, 2019 WL 2718496 (W.D. Va. June 28, 2019)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University 1 Doe v. Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, No. 7:19-CV-00249, 2020 WL 1309461 (W.D. Va. Mar. 19, 2020)