Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth circuit outlined the numerous ways in which the University of Denver (DU) railroaded an accused student. Campus activists, however, claim the school doesn’t do enough for accusing students.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, a student referred to as John Doe was accused by a student referred to as Jane Roe of sexual assault in 2014 six months after the two shared a sexual encounter their freshmen year. John was expelled following a lop-sided campus kangaroo court and sued. A panel of three judges outlined exactly how DU deprived John of his constitutional rights, calling the process “a railroading,” yet amazingly upheld the school’s decision to expel him:
- refused to follow leads that were potentially exculpatory;
- disbelieved Plaintiff from the outset due to the “innate motive” respondents have to lie about wrongdoing, while failing to consider obvious motives Jane might have to lie about the extent to which she initiated or invited the sexual encounter with Plaintiff, such as her new boyfriend’s insistence that she report the incident as well as his presence at her initial reporting and subsequent interviews;
• selectively determined which post-encounter evidence they would consider relevant (e.g., considering Jane’s allegation that Plaintiff offered her Aderall after the encounter in assessing Plaintiff’s credibility but not considering Jane’s inconsistent statements on whether the two saw each other after the encounter in assessing her credibility);
• allowed Jane’s boyfriend to act both as Jane’s support person who was present at her interviews and as a fact witness who provided information in the proceeding to corroborate Jane’s story and to impeach the testimony of witnesses who contradicted her story, in violation of DU’s policies;
• selectively viewed Jane as “heavily intoxicated,” implicitly rejecting Plaintiff’s and his roommate’s statements that Jane exhibited no indication of intoxication in order to support a finding that Plaintiff coerced Jane into sex but then accepting Plaintiff’s and his roommate’s statement in order to find that Jane’s intoxication had little effect on her ability to accurately recollect the encounter that night;
• faulted Plaintiff for making corrections to his summary statement and used it to attack his credibility, despite expressly inviting Plaintiff to make such corrections and apparently violating DU’s informal policy allowing interviewees to correct summary statements in order to accurately reflect their testimony;
• emphasized inconsistencies in Plaintiff’s and his roommate’s story while disregarding numerous inconsistencies in the versions of the story told by Jane and her friend;
• suggested Plaintiff’s failure to recollect details was indicative of deception and guilt while suggesting Jane’s failure to recollect details was the result of intoxication;
• viewed Plaintiff’s roommate’s statements corroborating Plaintiff’s story as tainted by Plaintiff’s and his roommate’s prior conferral regarding the events of that night, while not applying this same logic to the statements of Jane’s friend who corroborated Jane’s story, even though Jane called her friend specifically to relate to him “her portrayal of the night” and to tell him “that it was rape”;
• attacked Plaintiff’s and his roommate’s credibility on the grounds they seemed overly eager to offer consistent denials of any on-campus alcohol use, without applying the same logic to the vague and inconsistent stories provided by Jane and her friend regarding their own on-campus alcohol use, even though DU offers amnesty to complainants who admit to on-campus drug and alcohol use, but not to respondents.
Despite this flagrant abuse of an accused student (who are almost exclusively male), advocates at DU claimed the school wasn’t doing enough to help women who made accusations, whom they always refer to as “victims” or “survivors” based solely on an allegation.
Naturally, DU leadership agreed to make their policies even more slanted against accused students, who are usually accused after a drunken hookup in which each party, according to school policies, should be considered a victim. It never works this way, however, since college women are now taught to see themselves as victims and men as perpetrators. Women are encouraged to accuse men, while men are not encouraged to see themselves as victims, unless they’re gay. This results in many male students being sexually assaulted (according to broad modern definitions that include any form of touching to be sexual assault unless asked specifically for permission beforehand by someone who hasn’t had a sip of alcohol) but not seeing themselves as victims and reporting women.
DU introduced a plan that will guarantee every accusation results in suspension or expulsion for a male accused student. The school is instituting “trauma-informed investigation” methods, a new concept that assumes every accusation to be true no matter what. Supporters insist it is backed up by scientific evidence, but decades long research on trauma and memory do not support the techniques. For example, “trauma-informed” techniques insist that a woman is telling the truth about being raped even if she lies to police, because lies are simply a result of trauma. The techniques also encourage allegedly neutral “fact finders” to ignore exculpatory evidence and not interview the accuser multiple times so that accused students can’t point to inconsistencies in their stories.
DU will also start teaching four years of gender-based violence education for undergraduate students. DU makes clear that all sexual assault policies are biased against men by specifically mentioning masculinity as something to be fixed.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is expected to release new federal guidelines for how schools should investigate allegations of sexual assault, mandating that schools include accused students’ due process rights in the proceedings. Around 200 students – that we know of – have sued their college or university, and more than 100 rulings from judges have pointed out how schools have denied likely innocent students the ability to defend themselves from false accusations.