Title IX Sex Discrimination Complaint Filed Against Occidental College by Expelled Male Student.

Oct 21, 2014 by

LOS ANGELES – In a new development in a case against Occidental College that has garnered national attention, today a Title IX sex discrimination complaint was filed with the US Department of Education by John Doe, a male student expelled by the college earlier this year.  In February, John Doe filed legal action in Los Angeles Superior Court against the college and John Doe vs. Occidental College has become an oft-cited example of the myriad problems with the handing of alleged sexual assaults by colleges and universities.  (John Doe vs. Occidental College, LASC Case No. BS147275)   The court case was also cited in opposition testimony to SB967, California’s new “Yes” means “Yes” affirmative consent law.
Ironically, “Yes” does not mean “Yes” according to Occidental College, even when the consent is in writing.  Jane Doe (a pseudonym) texted just before going to John Doe’s dorm room to have sex, “Okay do you have a condom.”  John replied: “Yes.” Jane texted back: “Good, give me two minutes.” John texted: “Knock when you’re here.”  Jane then texted a friend from back home: “I’m going to have sex now.”  Jane walked down to John’s room at approximately 1 a.m., knocked on his door, went in, took off her earrings, got undressed, performed oral sex, and had sexual intercourse.  When an acquaintance knocked on John’s door to check up on her, Jane three times called out: “Yeah, I’m fine.” Shortly before 2 a.m., Jane dressed herself and returned to her room. On her way there, she texted her friends messages, complete with smiley faces, none of which mentioned assault. She then walked to a different dorm where she sat on the lap of another male student whom she had met the night before, talking and joking.
After daily meetings with Occidental College professors Movindri Reddy and Danielle Dirks over the following week, Jane Doe filed a police report and lodged a formal misconduct complaint against John Doe with Occidental College.
After the police investigation, the L.A. District Attorney rejected the case for prosecution because although both John Doe and Jane Doe were drunk, “they were both willing participants exercising bad judgment” and “[s]pecifically the facts show the victim was capable of resisting based on her actions.” “[I]t would be reasonable for [John Doe] to conclude based on their communications and her actions that, even though she was intoxicated, she could still exercise reasonable judgment.”
Following his expulsion by Occidental College, John Doe filed the court case and has now filed the Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.
Last month, another male student expelled by Occidental College filed a similar court case against the school.  (John Doe vs. Occidental College, LASC Case No. BS150532)
The new Title IX complaint filed by John Doe asserts that Occidental College has unlawfully discriminated against him on account of his gender:

Double Standard Based on Gender: Both students were intoxicated and voluntarily participating in sexual activity without coercion, however, Occidental College found only the male student responsible.  Either both students violated the college’s sexual misconduct policy, or neither did, if the behavior of both genders is judged equally on a thorough, neutral, and impartial basis as required under Occidental College’s policy and Title IX.
In defending its double-standard to hold only the male student responsible for the sexual encounter, Occidental College told the court that no action was taken against Jane Doe’s behavior because John Doe never presented a formal complaint to the school.  However, after John Doe presented a misconduct complaint to Occidental College, the college refused to proceed against the female student.

Hostile Environment:  Occidental College professors Movindri Reddy and Danielle Dirk counseled Jane Doe to file charges despite her initial objections, and profiled John Doe as a rapist, convincing Ms. Doe that she had been raped.  Occidental College’s investigative report states: “[Prof. Danielle] Dirks stated that, during that [initial] phone conversation, she [Dirks] used the phrase ‘rape’ to describe the incident, and Jane Doe responded, ‘Oh, I am not calling it rape yet….’” In addition, in the witness testimony included in the school’s investigative report and presented at the hearing, professor Dirks pressured Jane Doe into filing the complaint with statements such as:  [John Doe] fits the profile of other rapists on campus in that he had a high GPA in high school, was his class valedictorian, was on [a sports] team, and was ‘from a good family.’”

• “[Jane Doe]’s symptoms are like “the dozens of other survivors [of sexual assault] I have met with on campus.”
• “[Jane Doe]’s reluctance to call what had happened to her “rape” was consistent with other victims of sexual assault… on campus.”
• “[John Doe] was ‘acting in the same way all these other young men [involved in sexual assaults] have acted’ by checking in on [Jane Doe] after the incident, and seeking to manage [Jane Doe] by being nice in a manner. . . described as “disingenuous.”
The Title IX complaint also points out that Jane Doe was told she had PTSD by a faculty member without a Psychology license.

Lack of Gender Diversity:  The lack of any gender diversity among Occidental College’s Title IX personnel, advisors, outside contractors, adjudicator, and consultants involved in the disciplinary proceeding against John Doe reflects actual and apparent bias against students of the male gender.  After being denied the right to have his counsel present at any stage of the process, John Doe had difficulty in obtaining a Title IX ‘adviser’ from within the campus community.  John Doe’s first choice of advisor, a male faculty member, declined to participate, and John Doe was eventually assigned a female advisor. The hearing process was conducted and administered entirely by women, in fact no males other than John Doe were present at any time during the eight-hour administrative hearing.  This lack of gender diversity is discriminatory, unfair, devoid of good faith, in violation of students’ civil rights, and significantly affected the outcome of the process.

The Department of Education will likely decide within 30 days whether to open a formal investigation into Occidental College’s discrimination against John Doe.  Trial in the superior court case is set for January 22, 2015.

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Download Link for Title Complaint and Exhibits:  https://www.hightail.com/download/UlRUc0x5d0lCTWxOeDhUQw

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