Colgate University, a small liberal arts school in New York, has become the latest university hit with a lawsuit alleging that it wrongly expelled a student for sexual assault.
The anonymous student filing the lawsuit was kicked out in April, a mere month before his graduation, after he was found responsible on charges of non-consensual digital penetration, nonconsensual touching, and sexual exploitation.
According to Reuters, the student accuses Colgate of expelling him even though a preponderance of evidence pointed towards his innocence. He also says he was the victim of gender bias, that his punishment was disproportionate to the alleged wrongs, and that Colgate’s investigation was unfair.
The accusations against the student were brought by three different women, but notably their claims were only filed with the school in October 2014, even though they were all said to have occurred in the 2011-12 school year, meaning the incidents were over two years old by the time accusations were brought. (RELATED: Amherst’s Response To A Rape Lawsuit Is Stunning)
“I would like to have my records cleared, and I would like to be able to go back and finish my degree,” the former student told Reuters in an interview. “I understand that accusing someone of sexual assault like this is no laughing matter, but I also think it’s terrible to be wrongly accused like this.”
Colgate has declined to comment on the matter, because it is pending litigation.
The student’s attorney in the lawsuit is Andrew Miltenberg, a New York lawyer who has distinguished himself by representing several other college students accused of sexual assault. Notably, he is also representing Paul Nungesser in his defamation lawsuit against Columbia University. Nungesser was accused of raping Emma Sulkowicz, the “Mattress Girl” who hauled a mattress around Columbia for her entire senior year before appearing in a sex tape in June that reenacts her alleged assault. (RELATED: The Text Of The Mattress Girl Lawsuit Will Shock You)
Miltenberg told Reuters there is evidence that his client’s conviction and expulsion were substantially caused by faculty pressure rather than a fair airing of the facts.
Lawsuits are an increasingly popular option for students who say that universities have wrongly rolled back due process protections in their zeal to punish sexual assault. In July, a California judge ruled that the University of California, San Diego, improperly denied due process to an accused student. One month later, a former student at Washington and Lee was allowed to proceed with a lawsuit alleging his expulsion stemmed from gender bias.
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