Appellate court agrees college can’t suspend student accused of sex assault
A federal appeals court agreed Monday that the University of Cincinnati should not have suspended a student accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal’s 3-0 ruling agreed with a federal judge’s 2016 order that put the suspension on hold after the accused student appealed the university’s decision to impose one. He claims his constitutional rights to due process were violated.
The appeals court ruling comes after Friday’s announcement that the Republican Trump administration is rolling back the Democratic Obama administration policy on investigating college sexual assaults. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has said Obama administration policy had been unfairly skewed against those accused of assault.
Women’s rights groups warn the new interim guidelines will discourage reporting of sexual assaults.
Judge Richard A. Griffin, writing the appeal court’s opinion, said the judges are “sensitive to the competing concerns” in the case and agree UC has a strong interest in eliminating sexual assault on its campus and providing appropriate discipline for offenders.
The University of Cincinnati student referred to as “John Doe” contends he was denied a fair hearing without confronting his accuser, who failed to appear at his university disciplinary hearing. He contends their sex at his apartment in 2015 was consensual, while she had reported it wasn’t.