Title IX Lawsuit Could Reshape Sexual Assault Investigations

Article here. Excerpt:

'A recent lawsuit alleging that Boston College violated a student’s fair process rights could force colleges and universities across New England to reevaluate how they investigate accusations of sexual assault.

In late August, federal Judge Douglas P. Woodlock ordered the University to allow a student-athlete—identified as “John Doe” in court documents—to enroll in courses this semester after finding that the University’s investigative model violated the principle of fundamental fairness. BC suspended Doe on June 18 after finding him responsible for sexual assault in violation of the University’s Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.

BC employs a “single investigator model,” in which either one or two investigators interview the accused student, the complainant, and any witnesses before compiling the evidence and sending a report and finding to the Student Title IX Coordinator and what was then the Dean of Students office. In Doe’s case, the investigators were Assistant Dean of Students Kristen O’Driscoll and external investigator Jennifer Davis.

The lawsuit arises as courts both in Massachusetts and across the country work to clarify how colleges and universities should conduct sexual assault investigations. Woodlock’s comments at the hearing suggest that Doe’s lawsuit could reconcile the different standards that private and public universities are held to.'

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