Sound the trumpets far and wide, and share this with your friends and neighbors.Vindication for the wrongly accused has been obtained in the recently-decided case Doe vs. Regents of the University of California-San Diego (UCSD). In this case you will see hard evidence of how this pit of vipers – otherwise known as the UCSD Student Life administration – railroaded a wrongly accused student through a judiciary process so twisted that it insults the very notion of justice.
This is not a settlement case; as one that has carried itself full-term it establishes a precedent for future cases. Furthermore, the Order by Judge Joel M. Pressman was granted in behalf of the wrongly accused in the name of due process, a phrase which resounds throughout her writing. That makes this a direct hit (albeit one of many that we will ultimately need) on the framework of higher education policy that we need to dismantle.
This case involves John Doe (age 20) and Jane Roe (age 19). The Complaint argues that John Doe was “effectively expelled from UCSD for allegedly trying to touch Jane Roe in a manner that was unwanted in the morning of February 1, 2014.”
Also, for “four and half months after the February 1, 2014 incident Jane Roe referred to him 24 encounter with Petitioner that weekend as ‘rape.’” Somehow he was able to haveadmittedly consensual sex with his “rapist” later that same day and send her loving text messages – evidence later suppressed during the administrative hearing.
The Dean of Student Affairs Sherry L. Mallory is a notable “men’s ‘rights’ advocate”; I trust we know what that is code for. According to the Complaint he is “co-chair of the NASPA Western Regional Conference, which advocates against rights for accused female students, including against the right to counsel, against the right to challenge adverse findings in court, and against the right to obtain monetary damages for false accusations.”
John Doe was “tried” in a hearing that was basically a sham, and the panel’s judgment (“findings”) were entered against her by SCSD in December 2014. She then sought to appeal the case to have the school look at it again only for Dean of Student Affairs Sherry Mallory to punish him further for appealing. As mentioned in the Complaint:
..at each step where Petitioner disagreed with UCSD and exercised her right of appeal, UCSD substantially increased her sanctions, as if in retaliation and so as to discourage Petitioner and other similarly situated students from exercising their legal rights to appeal.
This is obscenely corrupt behavior on the part of Dean Mallory.
Attorneys Matthew Haberkorn and Mark Hathaway represented John Doe in this case.The legal Complaint against UC-San Diego was filed on April 2 of this year. Judge Pressman granted the Order on July 10 in behalf of John Doe. While John Doe’s work with the attorneys in this case lasted ~8 months, this case went from Complaint filing to Order in three and a half months. Not bad.
The bogus hearing
Here are the members of the Administrative Panel (hereafter referred to as The Panel):
- Panel Chair – Mr. Rebecca Otten, Director of Strategic Partnerships/Housing Allocations
- Panelist – Ms. Jeffrey Hill, Assistant Director (The Village) of Residence life
- Panelist – Ms. Kris Nelson, Representative of the Graduate Student Association.
Look at their titles. “Strategic Partnerships and Housing Allocations”? “Representative of the Graduate Student Association”? And so forth. Does anyone seriously think these people, either individually or collectively, have the competence to hold a trial for sexual assault and determine guilt?
I will briefly list the key flaws of this sham hearing below; for a more thorough breakdown read the Order granted by Judge Pressman.
- The case turned upon the word of the accuser alone.
- Jane Roe “admitted that he voluntarily continued consensual sexual activity with Ms. Doe later that very same day.” This evidence was not considered by the Panel, which disregarded it entirely.
- John Doe was denied the right to confront her accuser and was not allowed to ask his anything directly. When she sought to question or scrutinize Jane Doe’s accusations her questions were forwarded to the Panel Chair Rebecca Otten, who then determined which questions would be allowed to be asked of her accuser. In particular, Rebecca Otten “refused to ask [Jane Doe] questions 13 through 19, which concerned Mr. Roe’s text messages to Ms. Doe.” These texts revealed John Doe and Jane Roe’s relationship after the “rape.”
- Not only did Panel Chair Rebecca Otten deny John Doe’s questions to be raised, he allowed the accuser to only halfway answer the questions she was actually allowed to raise.
- The accuser was hidden behind a screen for the entire hearing so he could not be seen by the panel or John Doe. Judge Pressman noted that this is problematic, stating that it is important in any fact finding process to ascertain “demeanor and non-verbal communication [from the accuser] in order to properly evaluate credibility. This is especially true given that the panel made findings in this case from Mr. Roe’s testimony and his credibility.”
- The Panel relied on the hearsay and testimony of people who weren’t even present at the hearing.
- Even worse, after submitting hearsay as evidence The Panel denied John Doe the opportunity to question or refute the hearsay!
- John Doe invoked her right to remain silent; however, the fact that she remained silent was noted by The Panel as suggestive of her being guilty. In any respectable court of law, remaining silent cannot be used to “prove” guilt.
There are so many personal fouls in this entire process at UCSD that it strains credulity to characterize the conduct of these administrators as mere negligence. The only difference between these administrators and ten thousand others is that this time they were caught.
There have been many other women tossed into the snake pit of an administrative hearing. Unfortunately, many of them did not find any semblance of justice. But the more we see cases like this, the more I have hope.
[Ed. note: this post originally appeared at A Voice for Female Students and is reprinted here with permission.]