Thursday, December 8, 2011

Expelled college man's lawsuit complains that when two intoxicated students have sex, the male is deemed a rapist while the female is deemed a victim

The College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts expelled a young man the day before he was supposed to graduate last May with a 3.13 grade point average. The expulsion was punishment following a college board's determination that the young man was responsible for raping a female student.  Now the young man, Edwin Bleiler, 23, is suing the school for breach of contract and for violating his civil rights in a case that raises an important issue with possibly widespread implications.

At issue is this: if a male and female college student engage in sexual activity while intoxicated (not incapacitated), should the male be deemed a "rapist" while the female is deemed a "victim"? That's what Mr. Bleiler alleges happened in his case, and if that's correct, it's a gross distortion of even the semblance of equal justice, not to mention a breach of the school's contract with its students.

According to the complaint: “The college’s sexual misconduct policy imposes a form of strict liability on male students: if a male and female student are both intoxicated and engage in sexual activity, the male student could face expulsion for violation of the policy without any evidence of coercion, manipulation, force or any additional culpable behavior.”

The complaint also raises a potentially egregious hearing impropriety. The board was composed of five members, including two students. Both of the student members knew the alleged victim: one was her friend, and the other was her former resident assistant, according to the complaint.  The first student board member was allegedly biased against Mr. Bleiler during the hearing and had to be verbally restrained by the board, the complaint said.  Further, according to the complaint, the administrator's impartiality was also questionable, as she had appeared on National Public Radio contending that most rapes go unreported, with the offenders going free. If these allegations are true, the hearing was tainted with impermissible bias and partiality, and the failure of the two students and the administrator to recuse themselves represents an unpardonable interference with the fair administration of justice.

According to a news report: "The complaint said Mr. Bleiler and others on his behalf spent roughly $220,000 for his education and without a diploma he cannot apply to graduate school nor have any employment prospects commensurate with his education. It is also difficult for him to enroll at another college to finish his degree."

This is not the first time Holy Cross has been charged with running roughshod over the rights of its male students accused of sexual assault. See here All that smoke spewing from Holy Cross is reminiscent of Denison University--it's the reeking, malodorous soot that blots the sky when the U.S. Constitution is tossed into the incinerator, the smoldering burn of students' sacred rights being reduced to ash.

But we are seeing a very positive trend: increasingly, male students who say they've been wronged by skewed college administrative hearing processes are taking their schools to court. In the halls of academia, the one thing that trumps the smug, PC, attribution of evil to young college males is the pain of having to pay out big monetary settlements to those same young males.

Keep it up, men. It's the only thing that's going to force the pendulum to start swinging back toward the middle.


Here is Holy Cross' sexual assault policy: