A Virginia judge will allow a formerly accused Washington and Lee University student to continue with his Title IX lawsuit alleging gender bias against the university.
Judge Norman K. Moon denied W&L’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, allowing John Doe — as he is referred to in the claim — to continue to seek damages resulting from his expulsion from the university.
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The hearing was typical for current accusations of campus sexual assault. John was prohibited from having representation, and could only submit questions ahead of time to be asked of Jane. There were no witnesses at the hearing, only their summary statements . . . The panelists did not ask all of John’s submitted questions, and the ones they did ask were paraphrased incorrectly or asked out of order, John alleges.
Read the full decision here: Doe v. Washington & Lee – ECF 54 – Memorandum Opinion
This is a significant decision, as it is one of the most recent cases brought under Title IX permitted to proceed. The due process claims were rejected by the court because Washington & Lee is not a public college or University. Agaisnt a public school, they might have gone further. The court said that the allegations of the complaint, taken as true at this stage of the proceedings, suggest that the schools disciplinary procedures, at least when it comes to charges of sexual misconduct, amount to “a practice of railroading accused students.” The court noted that the investigator had appeared to have given presentations suggesting bias, and that the school “was under pressure from the government to convict male students of sexual assault.”
The bias and press described in this case is similar to a case Engel & Martin is currently briefing for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. In both cases, the allegations are that students were expelled following a biased investigation and limits on the ability to cross examine students in order to gain favor from federal authorities.