In January 2018, I wrote about a lawsuit by an expelled male student that alleged an outrageous denial of fundamental fairness and failure to follow university rules, Kafkaesque campus sexual assault tribunal at Johnson & Wales alleged in lawsuit:

A male student expelled from Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, has commenced suit in federal court in Massachusetts, where he lives, claiming he was unlawfully held responsible and expelled after an unfair, prejudged internal judicial process that violated not only ordinary norms of fairness, but also the university’s own guidelines.

The facts alleged and issued involved are all too familiar for these type of cases, according to the detailed factual allegations:

  • The male and female students had at least six sexual encounters, only two of which were at issue.
  • The female did not complain for one year.
  • The complaint was instigated by the female’s boyfriend, but the boyfriend could not be cross-examined because he served as the female student’s hearing advisor.
  • The accused male student was not given a copy of the complaint, he only had it read to him not long before the hearing.
  • The investigator who gathered the facts expressed support for the female student from the start.
  • The entire process from complaint to adjudication took only five weeks.
  • There was a short time to appeal, during which time the male student retained counsel, but the university would not provide the attorney with a copy of the complaint.
  • There was no record of the adjudication, making internal appeal and court challenge difficult

The lawsuit was transferred to the District of Rhode Island on the motion of the university. The university also filed a motion to partially dismiss the suit.

A hearing was held on the motion to dismiss on May 14, 2018. The Court denied the motion to dismiss on the critical allegation that the university violated Title IX by discriminating against a man in the disciplinary process. The court docket reflects the ruling, which was made from the bench just after oral argument:

TEXT ORDER For reasons state in today’s hearing, 26 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim is granted in part and denied in part as follows: The motion as to Count 3 is granted as to promissory estoppel, as to Count 4 is denied as to Title IX; as to Count 5 is granted as to intentional infliction of emotional distress; as to Count 6 is denied as to negligent inflection of emotion distress, and as to Count 7 is granted as to injunctive relief as a separate cause of action. – So Ordered by District Judge John J. McConnell, Jr. on 5/14/2018. (McGuire, Vickie) (Entered: 05/14/2018)

The bland docket entry, however, appears not to give the full flavor of just how badly the argument and ruling went for the university.

There is no transcript of the judge’s ruling currently available, but Prof. K.C. Johnson was at the courthouse and tweeted the highlights:

[Featured Image: U.S. District Court, Providence, RI, via K.C. Johnson Twitter]