Administrators at University of California campuses throughout the state continue to struggle with following protocol while investigating and adjudicating Title IX sexual misconduct cases.
On September 22, 2015, a Yolo County Superior Court judge found that staff at the University of California at Davis suspended a student who was accused of sexually assaulting a female student at a frat party in early June 2015.
Days after the allegations, the suspect, a 19-year-old student known only as John Doe, received a letter from the university's Student Judicial Affairs office informing him of the allegations and notifying him that he was no longer allowed on campus. The student was told to move out of a student housing facility and out of city limits. Days later the student was told that he was suspended, without a hearing being held on the alleged assault.
The student later filed a lawsuit. Late last month, judge Timothy Fall blasted the university for failing to hold any hearings on the matter.
"Due process has completely been obliterated by the university’s failure to get this case adjudicated. Complete failure to do it,” said Judge Fall. “...[I]f anyone has failed the alleged victim in this case [it] is the University."
According to the transcript obtained by the Reader, Fall took issue with university administrators ordering him to move out of the City of Davis.
"It's just not an interim suspension because when you tell someone, move out of Davis, you're putting them under a form of discipline in order to regulate their conduct."
A hearing was later held, after the student had been told to move and after enforcing an interim suspension. The Title IX panel found substantial evidence that John Doe committed the assault and violated Title IX protections.
The ruling comes weeks after a district court judge in San Diego found that administrators at UCSD failed to hold an adequate Title IX hearing for a male student accused of sexually assaulting a female student. University staff, including dean Sherry Mallory, added time to the student's suspension after he attempted to appeal the panel's decision.
UCSD has since filed an appeal on the Superior Court judge's decision. Mark Hathaway, the attorney for the UCSD student as well as the University of California at Davis student, says the decision shows that the University of California regents have some work to do to ensure that Title IX cases are handled properly.
A former San Diego State student has also sued the university after refusing to hold proper hearings. Currently, the University of San Diego is also fighting two lawsuits, both from victims of sexual assault who say the university dissuaded them from going to the authorities.