Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III on Thursday rejected Duke’s effort to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the accused student, Lewis McLeod, a senior who accuses the university of violating his contractual rights. The ruling blocks Duke from expelling him at least for now. “The plaintiff has demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits as to his contentions that the defendant has breached, violated, or otherwise deprived the plaintiff of material rights related to the misconduct allegations against him and the resulting disciplinary process addressing such allegations,” the judge wrote. Judge Smith enjoined Duke “from expelling the plaintiff… pending a final determination on the merits.” But he declined to order the school to grant him his degree, stating that he couldn’t make that decision at this stage of the litigation.
I acknowledge that posting this article runs the risk of the ripping open the Brendan-Gibbons-scab that is far from healed. Maybe I am naive, but I believe this board, with a few exceptions, is capable of engaging in a collegial, respectful, non -political (!) discussion regarding this increasingly relevant topic. IMHO, this topic is no longer just a Gibbons-issue, but rather a larger issue that will affect all college students, including athletes, for years to come.
Some of my questions for the board's discussion are: (1) Will lawsuits on behalf of expelled students become increasingly more common? (2) Is it possible to entrust university employees who potentially have no law enforcement or criminal investigative experience to conduct sexual assault inquiries? (3) What standard of proof requirements should be in place prior to expelling a student for sexual misconduct?
I would very much love to hear some novel opinions from the Mgolawyers, the Mgo-policemen/women, or anybody with professional experience in investigating these types of crimes.