An Augustana University student is suing his school after being expelled following an accusation of campus sexual assault.
The student says in his lawsuit that he initially told the school that a fellow student had been falsely telling people he had raped her. He "asked the school to intervene." Instead, the school went to the accuser and suggested she go to the police. The accuser did so and on Aug. 4, 2015, the accused student was arrested and charged with sexual assault. (The full filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota can be found by subscribers to Pacer.)
Just 24 hours after the accused presented evidence that showed he couldn't possibly have committed the rape as described, the charges were dismissed, according to the lawsuit. Most notably, the accused had lost his feet in a car accident and couldn't physically have committed the rape. He also mentioned that this particular accuser had previously falsely accused other Augustana students of rape, including an ex-boyfriend.
The day after the accused student was arrested, the accuser filed a complaint with the school. Augustana immediately suspended the accused student. Even though police dismissed the charges, the school continued with its investigation and adjudicated the accusation on Oct. 8, 2015.
Because he was facing criminal charges, the accused student at first invoked his Fifth Amendment right and said nothing. The school, according to the lawsuit, viewed this as its own incrimination. Since he invoked his Fifth Amendment right, the accused could not properly defend himself to the school, and since colleges and universities have no obligation to make the case for the defendant, Augustana relied on only the accuser's side of the story in decided to expel the accused.
Augustana, according to the lawsuit, didn't even attempt to independently verify or investigate the accusation, and accepted the accusation as true, even though the fact that the accused had no feet made it impossible for him to have committed the act. The lawsuit alleges the school made no attempt to interview witnesses that might have discredited the accuser's story.
The accuser also "deleted or removed otherwise exculpatory emails from the email string that she had presented to the campus investigator," according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also alleges the investigator's notes "included information that was contrary to actual testimony."
The accused student also claims Augustana investigators were not properly trained, which led to their faulty determination against him.
If true, this is a stunning case where a male student tells the school that he is being slandered, only to have the school immediately side with the alleged slanderer. If this isn't a case of blatant sex discrimination, I don't know what is.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.