Student's gender-bias lawsuit against Columbia may proceed, court rules


Columbia Spectator:

Student’s gender-bias lawsuit against Columbia may proceed, court rules

After two years of legal back-and-forth, a Columbia student will be allowed to sue the University, which he claims violated his Title IX rights in an adjudication process that found him responsible for sexual assault.The student, identified by the pseudonym “John Doe,” initially filed a lawsuit against the University in the spring of 2014. But after a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit following a motion from Columbia, Doe challenged the judge’s decision in a federal appeals court—and won.
“It is entirely plausible that the University’s decision-makers and its investigator were motivated to favor the accusing female over the accused male,” the decision said, though it “in no way suggests” that the court “has any view, one way or the other” on Doe’s complaint itself.

In the lawsuit, Doe alleged that a “pro-female, anti-male bias” influenced former Title IX investigator Jilleian Sessions-Stackhouse, a sexual assault hearing panel, and Columbia College Dean James Valentini as they investigated his case, issued him a one-year suspension, and denied his appeal, respectively.
Doe’s lawsuit also says that public pressure pushed these decision-makers to rule against Doe, who was then a first-year varsity rower, “in order to avoid further fanning the criticisms that Columbia turned a blind eye to such assaults.”
While the April 2015 decision from the federal judge effectively ruled that Doe lacked a strong enough legal argument to go to court, the appeals court decision suggests that there is “nothing implausible or unreasonable” about his claims.
In particular, the decision overrules the district court judge’s claim that public pressure to rule one way is not sex discrimination, instead arguing that this sort of bias could still violate Title IX.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There’s a good legal analysis at Washington Post.


Allegations of sexual assault ought to be referred to and investigated by the local police and prosecutors, not by university panels under Title IX which lack due process protections and standards of evidence.


I agree. If true these allegations are too serious not to be investigated as the crimes they are. If false, the real victim deserves some measure of justice against a false accuser.


It is high time to strip universities of the ability to act as if they were their own little cities.


That’s true, but it is Title IX which urges them to act as if they were a law unto themselves, and threatens to withhold federal funds if they do not do so.


That could be a good thing…remember the ‘good old days’, when federal funding didn’t exist?
The government had no real control over education, and standards remained high *. I’d like to see a well-endowed private university refuse all federal funding, and then change its curriculum by eliminating federally-mandated ‘diversity’ courses from their graduation requirements…offer these courses as electives, not requirements.

Back in the day, Title IX didn’t exist, because there was no need for it, but I won’t lecture on that today…*



No. It can and should be both, same as any other crime.

If you break into a building, assault someone, use drugs, etc on a campus not only will you be open to criminal charges, but you’ll face expulsion for breaking the university’s rules. And you’ll be expelled on less than “beyond a reasonable doubt” and before the trial even starts. It’s very similar to how you can commit a crime and lose your job in addition to facing charges.


Yes, universities can have their own rules and their own tribunals. But is it their rules or Title IX’s rules that are forced on them by regulation? And are the tribunals fair to both parties or do they most resemble star chambers? I’ve read some horror stories of false accusations ruining lives.


Isn’t that Hillsdale and Grove City College?

But even so, there is pressure on ABET and other accreditors to deny accreditation to schools that refuse Title IX compliance.

There’s always a bureaucracy. And there’s always somebody willing to use it to force what they want.


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