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Published On: Fri, Jun 8th, 2018

University of Michigan sued for withholding student’s transcript, degree and due process after sexual misconduct allegations

The University of Michigan is facing a lawsuit after the school “placed an indefinite hold” on a male student’s transcript and degree, despite not offering “complete due process protections, including cross-examination, for students facing all forms of discipline” (from the rules), in a sexual misconduct case.

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The unidentified student, “John Doe,” spoke to a federal judge, explaining that he can’t enroll in a graduate program, including one with a Friday deadline, or get a job because the university has “placed an indefinite hold” on his transcript and degree.

The university’s “separate and unequal policy” is at the heart of a due-process lawsuit against the University of Michigan by an accused student, who remains in limbo because of “he said/she said” allegations against him.

The university’s refusal to give Doe “any form of hearing or cross examination” is “clearly unconstitutional,” according to the Monday lawsuit.

Doe’s lawyer Deborah Gordon told The College Fix that the university is ignoring two “very clear” rulings by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which are binding on it, issued in just the “last 7 months.”

Due process “requires some form of cross-examination and live presentation in front of the ultimate fact finder in order to assess credibility,” as required by these rulings, Gordon wrote to The Fix.

Regarding the incident in question:

Less than three weeks after Doe was accepted into the engineering master’s program at UMich and “secured a research position,” a prior sex partner filed a complaint against him, according to the suit.

Identified as “Claimant” rather than a pseudonym such as “Jane Roe,” the female accused Doe of a “non-consensual sexual encounter” four months earlier in his residence hall.

The students knew each other before the female texted Doe in early November “asking to come to his residence hall room.” Doe asked her to come over on Nov. 11, and they “watched movies and engaged in sexual intercourse.”

When she told her roommate she had sex with Doe, “[s]he did not say it was without consent,” according to the suit. There were no witnesses to the allegation and “no drugs or alcohol were involved.”

In the following weeks, the female sent multiple “text and Snapchat messages” to Doe and met him at the university’s dining hall, where they “chatted pleasantly.”

Doe suggests that the claimant turned on him when he declined her offer to have sex again in his room:

In another one of Claimant’s texts to Plaintiff she asked him what it meant to their relationship now that they had engaged in sex. Plaintiff responded that all he could offer was friendship.

Defendant Pamela Heatlie, senior director in the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, issued a no-contact order in response to the female’s accusation. This was despite “no problems of any kind” between the sex partners in the previous four months, including the female’s repeated unsolicited messages to Doe.

Under the threat of “‘suspension, expulsion, or revocation of degree’” for breach of the order, Doe was required to avoid even “indirect” or “incidental” contact with the claimant. The order “does not restrain” the female’s conduct.

Doe accused the female of making a false report that he violated the order.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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