Student found in violation of sexual harassment policy drops lawsuit
The student, identified in court records only by his MSU identification number, was dismissed from MSU following an incident that occurred off-campus in August 2013.
Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Clinton Canady III previously approved an order to reinstate the student while his attorneys brought a civil case against MSU. The alleged procedures in the university’s investigation violated multiple aspects of Michigan’s constitution in a brief comparing MSU’s investigation to criminal trial.
MSU’s investigations into claims of sexual harassment and assault are not held to the same burden of proof that criminal cases receive — they are required to determine if it is more likely than not that sexual assault occurred, rather than prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
As of Friday, MSU Spokesman Jason Cody said the university is still awaiting an official notice that the case has been dropped. Once the dismissal becomes final, the student will no longer attend MSU.
The victim of the alleged assault, who spoke to The State News on the condition of anonymity, said the lawsuit has left her feeling powerless.
“I’m literally just the school’s puppet right now,” she said in a previous interview with The State News.
She said the suit was an opportunity for the judge to scrutinize MSU’s procedures for addressing complaints of sexual assault, procedures made in an attempt to comply with the federal law Title IX.
“(Canady) wants to make MSU’s process an example, it’s not about the victim at all at this point,” she said.
The investigation conducted by MSU’s Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives, or I3, included statements from several witnesses who were with both parties the night of the alleged assault. The student’s attorney alleges in court documents that much of the information gathered during the investigation was “rank hearsay” and “irrelevant.”
They also allege the student and his advisors, who were paid attorneys, should have been allowed to cross-examine the university’s investigator.
According to the I3 investigation, the victim alleged she felt “paralyzed” after taking three shots supplied to her by the respondent on the night of August 23, 2013, and did not remember engaging in sex with him the next morning.
According to documents from I3’s investigation, the student refused to speak with university officials about the case under advisement from his attorneys. Instead, he submitted a polygraph test he underwent, which concluded he was truthful when claiming he had consensual sex with the victim.
The student’s lawyer, George M. Brookover, did not return calls seeking comment.
After a university hearing, the student was notified of his dismissal in January. He appealed to the University Student Appeals Board and was denied in mid-February. He sent a final appeal to a senior MSU official, who upheld the decision to dismiss him.