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For college students accused of assault, ‘ramifications are real’

Article here. Excerpt:

'While attending a lecture one day in April, two weeks before starting final exams, a University of Michigan student received an email with startling news.

It was then, the aspiring engineer claims, that school officials first informed him that an acquaintance had recently filed a complaint alleging he forced her to have sex in his dorm room several months earlier.

The young man denies the accusation, which has not resulted in charges. However, in a federal lawsuit filed last week, attorneys argue the report alone led the college to unfairly “hold” his degree this spring as well as official transcripts without a chance to defend himself.

They now are asking a judge to tackle an issue some critics say has become increasingly common as state authorities address sexual assaults in the era of #MeToo and the Larry Nassar abuse scandal: whether campus policies go too far in penalizing those accused while protecting their accusers.

“If the government can decide today that people accused of sexual misconduct are not entitled to due process rights, who’s next?” said Deborah Gordon, the Bloomfield Hills-based lawyer representing the unidentified student in the UM case. “It’s a very slippery slope to start going down.”'

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