FAYETTEVILLE – A former college student at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, agreed on Wednesday to end his lawsuit over the university’s handling of a sexual assault complaint against him.
Documents released Wednesday by UA under the State Information Disclosure Act show a $ 20,000 settlement to end legal challenge by “John Doe,” who graduated as a 2018 student from the University was sanctioned for sexual assault in violation of campus guidelines.
The settlement also includes “Doe” a letter partially indicating that a different conclusion on his case could have been drawn as part of a campus disciplinary review in August 2020. The draft letter provided by UA also states that a police investigation in Fayetteville did not result in criminal charges and that “Doe” is still eligible to apply for admission or employment at the university.
The former student, referred to only as “John Doe” in court documents, and the university’s board of trustees filed a joint motion in the US District Court in Fayetteville on Wednesday for the case to be dismissed unscathed, which means he will not come back for the same reasons can be submitted.
“We are pleased that this lawsuit has been resolved,” said Mark Rushing, a UA spokesman, in a statement on Wednesday. “The university continues to strive to provide complainants and respondents with fair and thorough procedures.”
Justin Zachary, a lawyer for Doe, did not respond to an email and phone message asking for comment on Wednesday.
“Doe” alleged in court documents that he was discriminated against on the grounds of his sex and that the investigation and hearings in his campus case “were essentially inconsistent with the relevant US Department of Education guidelines.” “Doe” was held responsible for sexual misconduct by a disciplinary body which, on appeal, reversed an initial determination made by the university’s Title IX coordinator.
Under Title IX, gender discrimination is prohibited in schools that receive federal funds.
The draft letter included in the settlement agreement refers extensively to this finding and states that “two decision-makers (the then Title IX coordinator and a member of the hearing body) have concluded that they are not responsible for the alleged violation of the guidelines and two decision-makers (the two remaining members of the hearing body) decided it was you.
“This fact suggests that different fact-finders may have drawn different conclusions about your responsibilities.”
The letter refers to new federal regulations passed under the administration of former President Donald Trump that resulted in changes to disciplinary procedures on campus and procedures that could have resulted in a different outcome. “
Recent changes to UA procedures include allowing students to have counselors who can attend live hearings by interviewing opposing parties and witnesses.
The settlement agreement states that the university will not accept liability or misconduct in the case of “Doe”.
Court documents in the lawsuit state that “Doe”, after being held responsible for sexual misconduct, “must undergo Title IX training, 10 hours of community service and an online course on accountability for sexual violence.” UA allowed him to graduate.
The federal rule, which went into effect in August 2020, changed the requirements for colleges and universities, but schools still have to investigate certain cases of sexual harassment and assault involving students. You must also continue to provide supportive interventions for students who report sexual misconduct, such as: B. Changes to timetables and reallocation of campus accommodation.
Campus investigations are separate from police investigations and can result in a campus hearing panel determining whether a student is responsible for wrongdoing. In UA, such results are obtained using a predominant standard of evidence.
Critics said the new rule falsely limited the scope of civil rights protection. President Joe Biden, who took office in January, ordered a review of the new rule last month, which means there may be new changes.
“Doe” filed his lawsuit in September 2018, naming the University of Arkansas as a defendant; the University Board of Trustees; Tyler R. Farrar, formerly the University’s Title IX coordinator; and four others, including members of the UA panel who heard the appeal.
In 2019, US District Judge PK Holmes III dismissed the lawsuit, but Doe appealed the verdict.
The 8th Court of Appeals in September reanimated the case, ruling that there was a “plausible claim that Doe University discriminated on grounds of sex”.
However, the appeals court rejected the arguments put forward by “Doe” that his procedural rights had clearly been violated. When it comes to the campus hearing that “Doe” is involved in, its lawsuit “does not find any material flaw in this process,” according to the 8th circuit statement.