John Doe v. University of Connecticut, et al., No. 3:20-cv-00092 (D. Conn.)
A student accused of conduct violations and the University of Connecticut and its officials have reached agreement to dissolve permanently the student’s suspension and to refashion rules and procedures for a new investigation and hearing on the allegations. The new proceedings, to be completed not later than this month, are intended to provide some due process safeguards seen to have been lacking in initial proceedings.
The U.S. District Court has entered judgment in accordance with the Consent Order submitted by the parties, with the court to retain jurisdiction to hear any matters relating to that order.
The university defendants concede that John Doe is the prevailing party in the case and as such is permitted to recoup attorneys’ fees. The process of determining the amount of the fee award is underway.
Just Lawful Observation: The case exemplifies the hazards of college and university administration of investigations and discipline having life long consequences yet operating without the constitutional guarantees promised in federal and state courts.
The consequences to an accused student deprived of due process are life altering. To this may be added the financial pressures on universities to be compliant with federal gender parity laws, violation of which will result in loss of funding. Some believe this pressure has rendered schools incapable of operating without bias. Moreover, social pressure to vindicate individuals who complain of sexual misconduct is everywhere felt, no less so in colleges and universities.
It occurs to Just Lawful that if ever there were cases that cry out for restorative or reparative justice, it is these cases in which students’ lives implode when activity viewed as consensual by one is viewed as assault by another. Where remedies may be devised through mediation or learned interventions for both parties, this may be worthy of exploration.
The costs of these proceedings to students, whether accused or accuser, are not academic in any sense: at this time John Does’ attorneys’ fees request approaches one hundred thousand dollars. Few students or their families could shoulder such costs without hardship.