A black male Dartmouth College football player is alleging the school discriminated against him based on his sex and race when he was suspended for two years based on the allegations of a female student.
The male student, referred to only as John Doe in court documents obtained by the Concord Monitor, was asked by the female student, referred to as Sally Smith, to walk her home after she had been partying on campus. Sally called John because she “didn’t know where she lived,” and John was sober, since he doesn’t drink alcohol. John walked her home and the two allegedly sat in her dorm and talked for a while before John asked Sally if she wanted to have sex. John’s lawsuit claims Sally said “yes” twice and that the two students had sex for just two or three minutes before stopping.
The next day, Sally asked John to meet with her and had a friend listen in on the conversation without letting John know. Sally told John she hadn’t wanted to have sex with him and asked, “do you think I was in the right mindset to say yes?” A few days later, Sally reported to Dartmouth’s Title IX office that John sexually assaulted her.
Dartmouth determined that John had sex with Sally “without her valid consent,” though it found that she was not incapacitated, which is the standard for whether someone is too drunk to consent. The school made this determination despite John’s claim that Sally said “yes” to sex twice.
John is now suing, and his attorney, Amy Spencer, wrote in the lawsuit that Sally may have misremembered the night due to her intoxication, which again, Dartmouth found to not be at the level of intoxication. Not remembering an event clearly doesn’t mean someone was too drunk to consent, as neither they nor the other party can possibly know that their brain is not processing short-term memories.
John’s lawsuit argues that Dartmouth’s Title IX administrator, a white woman who was not named in the filing, showed “implicit racial and sex-based bias” against the accused football player.
“For example, Doe said he had asked Smith if her roommate was home to see why she hadn’t called her when Smith couldn’t remember where she lived, but the investigator said he was ‘casing’ her living quarters,” the Monitor reported. The investigator also allegedly wrote that John “yelled” to Sally in the dining hall the morning after their encounter, while John said he merely “called out” to her.
“Many of the inferences the Investigator drew from the evidence were based on this underlying biased and stereotypical view of (the plaintiff) as an aggressive, hypersexual Black male,” the lawsuit says.
John also says in his lawsuit that he asked Dartmouth to include at least one black person on the panel that would hear the accusations against him, but the school claimed “it had no African American person available to serve on his Hearing Panel.”
Further, John’s lawsuit says, “at least eight Black football players before Doe had been suspended or expelled following Title IX proceedings” over the past 15 years, while no white players faced the same punishment.
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