It’s a story that should have had a happy ending. A young man plays football at a prestigious university. A professional team offers him a spot on their roster. While playing for the team, a newspaper prints a story about how the young man was banned from campus due to false allegations of sexual assault. Shortly after, the professional team cuts him from the roster.
The young man filed a lawsuit against the university for violating his due process rights when it chose to expel him based on the false allegations.
Unfortunately, his story is not uncommon. A professor at the same college also suffered professional set-backs due to false allegations of a similar nature. This post will delve into the legal remedies the young man explored to help hold the college accountable for the damage it did to his future.
How did this happen? A woman accused the young man of sexual assault. Based on this allegation, the college conducted a Title IX investigation. Title IX is a provision within the Education Amendments of 1972. This law makes it illegal for educational institutions that receive federal funding to discriminate or harass, including sexual harassment and assault, a participant based on gender. Although it is important that universities provide a safe environment for all students and staff, false allegations of a violation can have a devastating impact on the accused.
What happens during a Title IX investigation? Those who are under investigation may find themselves called in for an interview. It is important to note that the accused does not have to attend the interview on their own. The accused is allowed to bring in legal counsel to better ensure their rights are protected during the interview and throughout the investigation.
What happened to the student wrongly accused of sexual assault? Michigan State chose to settle the lawsuit. The terms of the settlement are not yet available to the public, but it is likely he received financial compensation to help cover the funds he lost when he was cut from the team due to the university’s actions.