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WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – A series of sexual-assault cases on college campuses have spurred a backlash from accused male students who are now using anti-gender discrimination laws under Title IX to make their case that such accusations are biased against men.
A Bloomberg report finds a chain of male college students who have been disciplined through campus sexual assault investigations, and are now filing discrimination cases against universities across the country.
Title IX is a 1972 education amendment that protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance.
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” Title IX states.
In the last two years, men disciplined or expelled for sexual assault reasons have filed their own discrimination cases against Xavier University, Vassar College, Williams College, Bucknell University, St. Joseph’s University, and College of the Holy Cross among others.
Nicole Colby Longton, an attorney who sued Holy Cross on behalf of a male student accused of sexual assault stated that the increasing risk of such accusations is combined with a biased school-run justice system.
“One sexual encounter that involves alcohol, and the next thing you know you’re accused and expelled and branded for life,” Colby told Bloomberg. “Schools are going to push kids to have signed waivers before they have intercourse.”
The report cites a “parallel criminal-justice system run by school officials without legal training in which evidence and the burden of proof are scant and punishments harsh,” Robert Shibley, senior vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, told Bloomberg.
The most recent national data from the Education Department showed that sexual assault reports increased by 30 percent from 2009-11 – a total of 3,771 in 2011. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network reports that there is an average of 237,868 victims of rape and sexual assault each year – an average of someone being sexually assaulted every two minutes. Eighty percent of victims are under the age of thirty.
There have been an increasing number of assault victims filing complaints against their universities in the past year, with the Education Department receiving 30 Title IX grievances alleging schools’ inability to prevent sexual assaults.
The RAINN data shows that about 10 percent of sexual assault, abuse and rape victims in the US are male.
However, the RAINN report cautions that 60 percent of sexual assaults are never reported to authorities.
According to a 2012 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, 19 percent of undergraduate women experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college.
The Bloomberg report also cites the Obama administration “Dear Colleague Letter,” which pressured and reinforced that schools would be violating Title IX by not actively pursuing sexual assault claims on campuses.
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DSU student who was cleared of rape charges sues school: Student says he wasn't given due process
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A Delaware State University student who was kicked off campus for 45 days while the college considered a rape charge is suing the school for damages, saying his civil rights were violated.
In a federal lawsuit, Andre L. Henry, 21, said the school did not provide him due process while it reviewed criminal charges that already had been dropped.
“We found out yesterday that his on-campus disciplinary charges were found to be ‘not responsible,’ ” his attorney, Daniel C. Herr, said Tuesday, referring to DSU’s General Judicial Council’s investigation.
“We are still moving forward for damages because he was suspended for a total of 45 days pending a full investigation and full hearing, which we allege is a violation to his right to due process,” Herr said. “For 45 days he was kicked out of his home, ... he was kicked off campus, he was kicked out of school, all based on an allegation.
“You can’t do that for 45 days and then finally say ‘Oh, we’ve come to our decision. He was found not guilty.’ ”
School officials said they were aware of the lawsuit but would not comment on it. University spokesman Carlos Holmes added that the criminal case has been closed.
Henry, who is majoring in accounting and finance and is on the school’s track and field team, was charged with second- and fourth-degree rape on Oct. 24, according to the lawsuit, filed Dec. 6 in Wilmington’s U.S. District Court. According to the suit, the charges came three days after he had consensual sex with another student at his college apartment.
The criminal charges were dismissed Nov. 1, according to the suit.
About that time, the lawsuit said, DSU’s director of Student Judicial Affairs, Paula Duffy, informed Henry he was prohibited from entering any university facility or adjacent property pending the outcome of a university judicial case, in which he had been charged with “Sexual Assault/Rape.”
Henry was told he could bring witnesses to a Nov. 6 hearing before the General Judicial Council, the suit said, but he was not informed of his right to have an attorney present.
During that hearing, Henry said, he was not advised of his right to remain silent or his right against self-incrimination. He also did not get the chance to face his accuser, who was not present.
Henry’s roommate, Jesse Allen, testified at the hearing that he had been in the apartment’s common room the evening Henry and the woman had sex, the suit said.
Allen testified the woman did not scream for Henry to stop, as she “previously alleged that she had.”
The General Judicial Council planned a separate hearing where the woman would testify, the suit said, but did not inform Henry at that time.
That hearing took place on Friday, and Henry was present, Herr said. He did not say whether his client testified.
Following the hearing, Henry’s suspension was lifted.
Named in the lawsuit are Duffy; Kemal Atkins, DSU’s vice president for student affairs; DSU President Harry L. Williams; and the woman who accused him of rape.
It is the policy of The News Journal not to name suspected victims of sexual assault without their consent.
The 17-page complaint also claims university officials maliciously prosecuted and defamed him.
In addition to monetary relief, Henry wants the university to implement constitutional policies, procedures, customs and training to prevent a recurrence of his experience.
The university already has such polices and procedures in place, Holmes said.