Student alleges he was improperly disciplined in campus Title IX investigation

Daniel Kim/Senior Staff

Related Posts

John Doe, an unidentified suspended campus student, alleged he was improperly disciplined in a campus Title IX sexual misconduct investigation, according to a petition filed Tuesday in the Alameda County Superior Court René C. Davidson Courthouse.

Doe was found to have violated the university Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy and the campus Code of Student Conduct after the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination investigated an incident between Doe and an unidentified female Jane Roe, both campus undergraduates at the time, that took place last October.

The campus Center of Student Conduct sanctioned Doe in February with a “three-year suspension until May 15, 2020, exclusion from campus until May 15, 2020, required completion of a sexual misconduct educational program, a no-contact directive as to Ms. Roe, a status of disciplinary probation for the remainder of his studies, and indefinite exclusion from university housing.”

“Petitioner JOHN DOE … was improperly disciplined … stemming from a Title IX sexual misconduct disciplinary process that is unfair, lacks due process, does not comply with the law or university policy, and where the charges are not supported by the evidence,” the petition alleges.

The petition names outgoing campus Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and the Regents of the University of California among the lawsuit’s respondents and requests as relief a writ of mandate to set aside the findings and sanctions against Doe.

The petition alleges Doe was not granted a fair hearing and the “Respondents’ Title IX sexual misconduct process is permeated with structural error.”

“Our response to the particular allegations in this case will be provided in court documents and in court proceedings,” said campus spokesperson Janet Gilmore in an emailed statement. “In terms of our overall student conduct process, it is designed to be fair while also holding accountable those involved in sexual misconduct.”

According to the petition, Doe and Roe met at a Tau Kappa Epsilon party about 12:45 to 1 a.m. on October 16, 2016. The petition describes an account of sexual activity between Doe and Roe that occurred after the pair returned to Doe’s dorm room in the campus Unit 2 Ehrman Residence Hall later that evening.

Roe reported Doe had sexually assaulted her to OPHD 10 days later on October 26, 2016, according to the petition. The petition states Roe told OPHD compliance resource officers she consumed a significant amount of alcohol earlier in the evening, and claimed she was therefore unable to consent to the sexual activity that later occurred with Doe.

OPHD’s Layma Ahmadzai issued a report of her findings in January, concluding with “a preponderance of evidence” that Doe violated the university Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy and the campus Code of Student Conduct.

Doe appealed his case outcome Feb. 26, 2017, arguing his investigation had a procedural error, the decision made was “unreasonable” based on available evidence and there was new information previously unknown that would affect his case outcome.

An appeal hearing April 25, 2017, concluded with the denial of Doe’s appeal, and in a letter notifying Doe of the outcome of his appeal sent May 2, 2017, Doe was notified there was no further option for administrative appeal.

On Oct. 17, 2016, UCPD and Berkeley Police Department issued two joint Nixle crime alerts related to separate sexual assault investigations in off-campus fraternities.

The first alert, sent about 5:53 p.m., stated a female victim woke up in the morning on Oct. 16, 2016, and reported unwanted sexual conduct to the BPD after attending a fraternity the night before for a social event.

Mark Hathaway, a partner at Werksman Jackson Hathaway & Quinn LLP and a representing attorney for the petitioner Doe, has “assisted dozens of students and faculty in Title IX misconduct cases, both complainants and accused students,” according to the Werksman Jackson Hathaway & Quinn LLP website.

The website describes “two recent Title IX successes for students defended” by Hathaway, including a July 2015 ruling by San Diego County Superior Court Judge Joel Pressman to overturn the suspension of a University of California San Diego student, who found “serious procedural flaws in the university’s handling of the case,” according to the firm website.

 

Bobby Lee is an assistant news editor. Contact Bobby Lee at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @bobbylee_dc.