The public’s perception of sexual assault and harassment have been seeing some changes, especially over the past months. This change can be a double-edged sword. It’s good to learn that victims of these crimes are being heard. However, there is another side of this issue are the problems that come from taking every person that says they were a victim at face value. There are victims on the other side of this matter that are suffering the consequences of another person’s false claims. The double-edge of this sword exists in colleges and universities across the country with student misconduct cases.
Recent Student Misconduct Cases and Their Outcomes
At the University of California at San Diego, one case recently made the news after a male student had their suspension reversed. The suspension was from an alleged assault of a female student. However, his due process rights were violated in this instance. The hearing panel presumed his guilt before hearing the evidence, and he was unable to access the evidence and witnesses to his case.
At George Mason University, a male student received an expulsion from the school following an alleged sexual assault. He had a sadomasochistic relationship with the female student. During one of their encounters, he did not stop with the use of the safe word. Although he did admit to continuing to have sex with her even after the use of the safe word, the basis of his expulsion was on more than this encounter. It was also based on other accusations against him during his time at the school, and he hadn’t been notified about them. Therefore the federal court ruled he couldn’t adequately defend himself against the expulsion.
At a James Madison University, an accused student wasn’t given a copy of the charges made against him and wasn’t allowed to make a copy of them, either. He was permitted only to take notes. The panel’s initial ruling was in his favor, but then during an appeal, he was given a five-year suspension. During the appeal, he was not allowed to have any copies of the materials, wasn’t given notice of the date of the meeting, and wasn’t able to make a case before the board. He has successfully filed a lawsuit against the university.
Their Defense and Behavior
When it comes to their defense and behavior, one thing tends to stand out. Those charged with student misconduct aren’t defending their rights. In the one case, the student was unable to have copies of the charges against him. This paperwork is vital to helping form a defense, and without it, can negatively impact the outcome of the case. As the legal burden with a Title IX proceeding is less than what’s needed for a criminal case, and the rights of the accused are typically not protected, any misstep can lead to issues.
What Sentences Do Students See From Misconduct?
The sentences that students are seeing from these student misconduct charges can be as severe as expulsion and suspension. In one case, the student suspension from the school was for five years. Considering it only takes on average four years to get a college degree, having a suspension that long can have resounding impacts on the future of these students.
How Does It Impact Their Schooling?
The sentences that students are seeing from student misconduct charges can have a tremendous impact on their school. Expulsion from the school is possible, and in some cases, unable to find another university that will be willing to allow them to enroll later on. They may also get a suspension from the school for years before they can start continuing their higher education.
This impact on their schooling goes far beyond just being able to finish their classes to earn their degree. It can have a devastating effect on their future. They cannot get a job in their chosen field and have to put their life on hold.
What Could They Have Done Better to Fight for Their Case?
In each of these cases, the students didn’t fight enough for their situation. They relied on the school they attended to have their best interests at heart, and they shouldn’t have done that with this process. The negative publicity that the college receives over these cases can make them want to get it out of the limelight as quickly as possible and settle the matter. This feeling of urgency can result in cut corners, and in some cases, there can be a bias. This bias may result in wanting to make an example out of a student. To better fight for their situation, legal representation should have been a part of the process from the very beginning.
The Law Office of John E. McDonald is ready to fight for you. A Title IX Sexual Misconduct accusation can derail your life. You should stand up for your rights through this process by getting professional representation with experience with these types of cases. Contact us today to discuss you or your loved one’s current situation with a student misconduct case to help you move forward. No one else is going to fight as aggressively for you.