A student was accused of assaulting his girlfriend, and the school immediately suspended him.

The College Fix reports:

UMass violated due process by punishing accused student with no hearing, appeals court rules

Public colleges in New England were put on notice this week: They are not allowed to severely punish students based solely on unvetted allegations.

The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the University of Massachusetts-Amherst for immediately suspending a student accused of assaulting his girlfriend.

James Haidak remained suspended for five months without a formal hearing, violating his constitutional right to due process, according to the three-judge panel.

The opinion by Judge William Kayatta concluded that public colleges must formally grant accused students the opportunity to be heard before punishment, absent some documented “exigency.”

But the 1st Circuit stopped far short of the due-process requirements set over the past two years by the 6th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.

It did not require universities to let accusers and accused students cross-examine each other directly or through representatives such as lawyers. The panel also gave broad leeway to adjudicators to decide which questions to ask each party from the other.

This sets up a circuit split that could draw the Supreme Court’s attention, though experts on student conduct proceedings were divided on how likely that was, in a report by Inside Higher Ed.


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