A black male student at Long Island University was suspended for a year after a white female student kissed him at a party and later claimed he sexually assaulted her. She told three different versions of the story, all of which were either contradicted by witnesses – including her own friends – or not corroborated.
The male student, referred to as John Doe in his lawsuit against LIU, said that the female student, referred to as Jane Roe, kissed him without affirmative consent (as New York requires) “in front of many witnesses” in a dorm room, The College Fix reported.
After kissing John, Jane later allegedly panicked because she had kissed him in such a public way and that it would get back to her boyfriend, so the next day she filed a Title IX complaint accusing John of forcing her to perform oral sex on him. She then claimed he “pulled” her into a room and held her down to continue kissing her, adding that her roommate had to pull John off of her. In her third version, she claimed John assaulted her behind a “wall” of dressers in a dorm room.
Witnesses told LIU that John and Jane were never alone at the party. Jane’s roommate said she never had to pull John off Jane and in fact saw them walking “one-behind-the-other.” Her other claims suggested witnesses observed the sexual assaults as they were in crowded rooms, yet no one confirmed Jane’s claims. The claim about the dressers should have been easily disproved, as no such “wall” existed in any dorm room since they were furnished by the university.
The investigation consisted of the Title IX coordinator, Jean Anne Smith, acting as the alleged advocate for both John and Jane, investigator, judge, and the person who chose John’s sanctions. Smith worked with another investigator, Nicole Thomas, who according to John withheld information from him and didn’t explain what rights he had in the investigation, such as his right to present witnesses. He said their interviews of witnesses were “cursory and brief” and ignored “key inconsistencies and contradictions.”
John argues in his lawsuit that the investigators didn’t explain why they found Jane credible. He says he wasn’t allowed to hear her testimony or cross-examine any witnesses.
More from the Fix:
LIU’s bias is institutionalized in its Sexual Violence and Harassment Policy’s Students’ Bill of Rights, which “shockingly” limits protections to only “reporting individuals” – those who allege violations, according to the suit.
This is despite the policy’s explicit promise of several rights for “all” students, including the presumption of innocence for accused students, “right to make an impact statement” on the cusp of sanctions and “equal opportunity” to present witnesses and evidence. John claims he was afforded none of these.
The policy does, however, reflect New York’s affirmative consent law: “both evince a surface-level refusal to recognize uniform rights for the accuser and the accused.” Signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the statute has an “inherent bias” because it requires colleges to predetermine that any accuser “is at fault … or should have acted in a different manner to avoid” violations that have not been proven, John says.
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