By Edward Bartlett
Following a judicial ruling against the institution, Michigan State University recently agreed to a settlement payment for the unjust suspension of a wrongfully accused male student. The agreement highlights the widespread problem of sex bias by campus Title IX officials, as well as the need for the upcoming Title IX regulation to institute measures to stop discrimination against male students and faculty members.
The lawsuit against MSU arose from a sexual encounter between two undergraduate students in which the female student was the sexual aggressor. During a dormitory encounter, she took the initiative to remove the man’s clothing, perform oral sex on him, and engage in other sexual actions. The woman did not seek the man’s permission or consent to engage in the sexual activities.
But inexplicably, the female student decided to file a Title IX complaint, claiming to be the victim of sexual misconduct. The college provided inadequate notice to the accused man and conducted a “victim-centered,” guilt-presuming investigation. MSU also failed to conduct a live hearing and provided no opportunity for cross-examination, ignoring a Sixth Circuit Court decision against the University of Cincinnati ruling that colleges are required to allow for cross-examination.
As a result, the male student was suspended for a two-year period. He then filed a lawsuit against Michigan State.
Given the numerous and egregious due process violations by the school, Judge Janet Neff ruled in favor of the male student (1). Last week, Michigan State agreed to a confidential settlement that likely involved a payment in the high six figures.
The MSU saga is not unique. To date, 44 judicial decisions have been issued against colleges, large and small, finding sex bias against the male student. These institutions include the University of Denver, University of Minnesota, University of Arizona, UCLA, and many others.
Numerous organizations and individuals have spoken out in recent weeks to emphasize the importance of due process in campus sexual assault proceedings. These include the Attorneys General from 15 states, the National Association of Scholars, 26 other leading organizations, and 82 leading professors and attorneys.
Edward E. Bartlett is President of SAVE, an organization focused on fairness and due process on college campuses. Over the course of his career, he has worked as an Army medical corpsman, community health educator, professor, journal editor, author, risk management consultant, government regulator, and in the non-profit sector.