Engel & Martin, LLC has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Syracuse University student seeking to prevent the school from expelling him as a result of an alleged campus sexual assault case.
Syracuse has been the subject of at least two investigations by OCR. Officials from OCR were scheduled to visit Syracuse in January 2017. Federal officials hosted two community meetings for students, faculty and staff during their January 2017 visit.
The case arose because the plaintiff, a male Syracuse student, engaged in sexual activity with a female Syracuse student. The female student weeks later alleged that she did not provide adequate consent because she was “incapacitated by alcohol intoxication.” A hearing was conducted before a University Conduct Board. The Board found that “both parties were intoxicated to the point where their judgment would be impacted.” Although the Board found that both students were too intoxicated to provide consent, the Board only recommended that the male student receive discipline.
Joshua Engel, the attorney for the accused student, explained that Syracuse unfairly discriminated against the expelled student on the basis of gender. “By imposing discipline only on the male student when it believed both the male and the female students were too intoxicated to engage in consensual sexual conduct,” Engel said, “the school has incorporated a chauvinistic view of men as predators and women as the guardians of virtue.”
Expulsion from Syracuse has caused the student to be denied the benefits of education at his chosen school, damaged his academic and professional reputations, and may affect his ability to enroll at other institutions of higher education and to pursue a career.
This case is one of many nationwide where courts have issued injunctions prohibiting schools from implementing discipline against students accused of sexual assault. Recently, students have obtained injunctions against the University of Cincinnati, Brown University, and Notre Dame.