Brendan Gibbons Expelled, Untruths Rampant

Submitted by Brian on January 28th, 2014 at 6:21 PM

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The university and athletic department handled Gibbons about as well as he handled this field goal. [Eric Upchurch]

The Daily has revealed that the sketchy way Brendan Gibbons exited the program—a "tweak" before the OSU game followed by barely-credible claims of "family issues"—was in fact a result of the university expelling him for the 2009 rape allegations that were exhumed earlier this year:

“You will be permanently separated from the University of Michigan effective December 20, 2013,” reads a Dec. 19, 2013 letter addressed to Gibbons at his Florida residence from the University’s Office of Student Conflict Resolution, which facilitates disciplinary proceedings against students. The Michigan Daily did not obtain these documents from the University.

In human language, "permanently separated" is expulsion. The OSCR took that action based on a preponderance of the evidence.

Why it took almost five years to reach this conclusion is unknown. The Daily suggests that revised policies from 2011 may have forced the University to re-evaluate, but policies from 2011 do not result in December 2013 expulsions. Given the timing here it's clear that the guy who dumped various court documents on the internet was the proximate cause. That is of course terribly embarrassing for the university, which was apparently fine with having a student they eventually concluded they were at least 50.1% sure raped a girl as long as no one was complaining about it.

Meanwhile, the athletic department's optics here are horrible. Having him on the team is not the issue, or if it is it's on Rodriguez's head. The incident was a year old and seemingly dead when Hoke came in; without the OSCR or other university body stepping in there would be no reason to reconsider Gibbons's status.

But once they knew things were coming to a head they could not have been dumber about this. Not content with offering up the generic and 100% true "violation of team rules" explanation—being enrolled at the university is kind of important if you're going to be on the team—they chose to cloak Gibbons's departure in a thin veneer of sympathy by claiming "family issues." That is a lie. Now they look horrible, and for something a bit more serious than having a noodle in the stadium.

Meanwhile, Hoke's explanation for Gibbons's unavailability for Ohio State is questionable at best. Was this "tweak" legitimate? Is it at all plausible that Gibbons was "iffy" for the bowl game on December 16th, three days before the very last gear of ponderous university justice ground to a halt?

"He's a little iffy," Hoke said. "He's kicking a little bit. But I don't want to over-kick him (in practice).

"I've never been a kicker, so I can't imagine that (muscle pull) problem. So, he's a little iffy."

There is absolutely no chance that Brady Hoke was not fully informed of the status of his kicker by this point. Dave Brandon did not call Brady up on the 19th and say "you're never going to believe this, but…"  That's also a lie, and in the service of what cause again?

UPDATE: A user who used to work at the OSCR provides details on the process:

Having worked at the Office of Student Conflict Resolution (the "disciplinary" office that administered the expulsion proceedings against Gibbons) for two years in undergrad, I thought maybe I could offer some insight / clear up some confusion about the OSCR process in this thread.

OSCR is not, in any appreciable sense, an investigatory body. It is a passive office that acts only after receiving a complaint from some member of the University community. While any individual student, faculty, or staff member can file a complaint, the most common OSCR complainants by far are Residence Education (Housing) and DPS. In order to pursue a complaint with OSCR, the Complainant has to provide all the necessary evidentiary backing; again, OSCR does not investigate events on its own.

The process for initiating and pursuing a complaint with OSCR goes as follows:

  • An OSCR staff member conducts an intake meeting with the Complainant to discuss the nature of his/her/its complaint and inform the Complainant of the various resolution pathways available (in addition to formal arbitration, OSCR offers a number of alternative dispute resolution pathways that do not result in disciplinary action).
  • An OSCR staff member will then conduct an intake meeting with the Respondent to notify him of the complaint and inform him of his rights/options in the process.
  • At that point, the Respondent can either accept responsibility for the complaint or indicate that he's willing to proceed to a formal arbitration.
  • Assuming that the Complainant is also interested in pursuing a formal arbitration, OSCR will either appoint a trained member of the University staff to serve as the formal arbiter, or it will select a panel of student arbiters.
  • After hearing from both the Complainant and the Respondent, the arbiter or the student panel will reach a finding of "responsible" or "not responsible," and will then proceed to make a sanction recommendation.
  • Any recommendations for expulsion have to be approved by a member of the University administration. When I was there, I believe this was the responsibility of the VP for Student Affairs, E. Royster Harper.

As you can see, this is a multi-step process that requires several meetings and often many different witnesses, advisors, and arbiters. With that said, it is emphatically NOT a three- or four-year process. Given that all of the investigatory work is already completed before a complaint is filed, the formal arbitration process does not take very long at all. In my time at OSCR, I can't remember a single arbitration - including those involving sexual assault allegations - lasting more than a single semester, from initial complaint to final sanction.

Comments

Bryan

January 28th, 2014 at 8:21 PM ^

Rape is bad.

With that said, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I don't think it's right the university can expel a student for a reason that doesn't involve academic violations when there has been no criminal charges.

Had the Mackie's offices charged, then that is a different story. He should be gone immediately. That never happened.

Could he have been removed from the team? Probably and this wouldn't be an issue, but without more to weigh against him, what would Hoke/ RR do?

The whole situation is bad. Bad that the girl had to go through this (if it happened), bad for the university because they're asshats for handling things in this manner and bad for Gibbons.

Yet, under this system could Jameis Winston be kicked out?

Bo inside all of us

January 28th, 2014 at 9:28 PM ^

Universities are required by law to provide a safe venue for their students.  As such, they must expel students for matter beyond academics when required.  A straight A student can blow up a dorm room, for example.  That's grounds for expulsion. 

These matters are adjudicated by university rules that transcend the athletic department.  They don't just pick up the phone and say 'oh man, we've got a kicker here, better break all the rules of privacy to tell this one to the coach'. There was very little Hoke could legally say or do until the case was resolved. 

I wonder if Winston was the accused in a Title IX violation or whether he was just accused to the police.  The legal standards are totally different than the Title IX standards.  If a complaint was raised at the university by Title IX standards, yes, he could be kicked out without being found guilty in a criminal or civil court. 

Steve in PA

January 28th, 2014 at 8:25 PM ^

A certain other B1G school buried allegations of (child)rape and eventually had to pay.  How high does this go?  Are Hoke/Brandon just as accountable as Paterno/Curley?

 

This is terrible on many levels but mostly for the yound lady involved.  I'm sure there are lawyers circling already.

 

ann.arbor.lover

January 28th, 2014 at 8:32 PM ^

Well I think one thing we can all agree on is that what happens in the next few days will have a long lasting effect on the football program, the athletic department and the University. By god I hope they handle it right this time. A relatively reasonable and convincing explanation on the timeline of this would be a start.

Don

January 28th, 2014 at 8:32 PM ^

http://www.michigandaily.com/news/university-adopts-new-sexual-miscondu…

Opening paragraphs (boldface mine):

"The University has adopted a new policy for how it responds to student sexual-misconduct allegations, transitioning from a complainant-driven model to one driven by University investigators.

Per the policy, the University has assumed the burden of internally investigating all allegations of student sexual misconduct, which includes allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The policy doesn't deal with the criminal repercussions that result from law enforcement investigations, which are outlined in federal, state and local laws.

A 2011 Department of Education mandate clarified that Title IX, the federal anti-sex discrimination statute, obligates universities to actively investigate sexual misconduct allegations. In response, the University reviewed its sexual misconduct allegation policies and implemented an interim policy in August 2011.

The newly effective final policy follows fine-tuning process over the last two years, which brought together the directors of the Office of Student Conflict Resolution, the Office of Institutional Equity, the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Center and a staff member in the Office of the General Counsel. In addition to discussions at several community forums, survivors of sexual assault and other people who were impacted by the previous policy were also consulted."

To me, this indicates that under the old system, there wasn't enough proven fact to expel Gibbons, even though there were ample suspicions that he did commit an assault of some sort. This conundrum has been addressed now:

"... When determining guilt, OIE investigators will use a lower standard of proof. Known as preponderance of the evidence, the standard declares that guilt is determined if there’s enough evidence to suggest a complaint is more likely true than not."

I believe that this newly implemented system enabled the University to revisit the charges, and the new lower standard of proof allowed them to make an expulsion decision that might not have been possible under the old system, even if there was no new information available to the University investigators.

Question: if a head coach—Rich Rodriguez or Brady Hoke or Bo Schembechler—suspects that one of their players might have committed a crime, but have no legal or criminal justice evidence to make a determination themselves, are they obligated to get rid of the player anyhow?

Don

January 28th, 2014 at 8:47 PM ^

but people really should read the Daily article. I think it's clear that this is largely the result of recent changes in official UM policy, and Gibbons has gotten caught up in the wash, perhaps with very good reason.

With respect to Hoke and Brandon, I think it's appropriate to paraphrase the old Watergate quote:

"What did they know, and when did they know it?"

bronxblue

January 28th, 2014 at 8:46 PM ^

Great breadown.

As to your final point, I'd hope any coach would be above making such a determination.  They aren't judges, and if there is a formal process let it happen.  Because otherwise, when he is wrong (and inevitably he will be), you are going to have kids screwed over who were innocent, and for no good reason.  What happened with Gibbons (if true) is horrible for his victim, but a blanket "guilty" treatment on accusation is just as damaging as a the "enablement" argument some people are trying to push around here for Hoke and co. letting him play.

BlueAggie

January 28th, 2014 at 9:03 PM ^

I think that it's more likely that when the story resurfaced earlier this year, somebody within the OSCR or the AD asked some questions about why the case wasn't adjucated in 2009.  Discovering a change in policy, they may have read the title IX rules carefully and decided that the OSCR process was warranted per the current regulations.  In fact, as Gibbons was still a student, it was probably required.

Don

January 28th, 2014 at 9:09 PM ^

Excellent point. We need to keep in mind that university adminstrators—in part because of Penn State—are probably privately scared shitless about the possibility that charges of covering things up could occur on their watch, too. Asses need covering and lawsuits need to be avoided.

"Title IX, the federal anti-sex discrimination statute, obligates universities to actively investigate sexual misconduct allegations."

stephenrjking

January 28th, 2014 at 9:49 PM ^

This seems, to me, to be the most plausible explanation available that would also exonerate the Department from most of its shame and guilt.

This issue did sort of resurface in August, and so it seems reasonable to think that someone would say, "Let's take a look at this." And the result is what we have now.

I'm not saying that's what happened, but that seems like a reasonable explanation that would keep me from thinking that Hoke and Brandon were particularly negligent.

guthrie

January 28th, 2014 at 9:55 PM ^

One very significant piece missing from your good explanation is that the policy allowing for the lowered evidentiary standard of "preponderance of the evidence" didn't become effective until August 19, 2013.  It's on the FAQ page of the student sexual misconduct policy.

If this change became effective August 19, 2013 then it actually appears the process was handled pretty swiftly by the university (whether you agree with the process or not).

Erik_in_Dayton

January 28th, 2014 at 10:25 PM ^

...is the simplest explanation so far. A poster above stated that a possible change in school rules was a specious explanation for what happened. As far as the school's delay, I can't think of a more relevant explanation. Institutions (hopefully) function under rules, and they change behavior when their rules change...This does not explain the "family issues" comment, and I don't mean to suggest it does.

party like its 1989

January 28th, 2014 at 8:37 PM ^

I'm not sure what he was supposed to say on December 16 without the process being concluded. It's not like he can offer up that Gibbons is being reviewed by the OSCR. What if it turns out the claim is baseless, and Gibbons is thrown under the bus by Hoke without cause?

My guess is that at some point in the last half a year, someone got the facts and details together and finally made a FORMAL complaint to the OSCR. Hence the process began. Long overdue, but someone needs to step forward to get it started.

I feel terrible for the young woman, and if Gibbons did what is alleged (which it's sounding like he probably did, although still not yet convicted in an actual court), then expulsion is barely a scratch in the price he should have to pay.

Raback Omaba

January 28th, 2014 at 8:43 PM ^

I am a lifelong michigan fan and graduate. Love our school and athletic programs, esp football. I always can keep my head up high through the ups and downs.... Through The Horror, 3-9, losing to Sparty etc, I could always stay positive, stick up for my school and have a rebuttal for all the shit talkers.

I cannot today. I am very embarrassed and ashamed of our school, athletic director and coaches. I can't and won't argue how it happened, who knew, if he did what he was accused of etc, but I will say that it was flat out handled terribly and wrong. Bottom line. I am ashamed to call myself a Michigan fan and will absolutely have no rebuttal for anyone that criticizes the program regarding this. It is absolutely absurd and frankly makes me sick.

No excuses. Sounds like the high horse just got a lot lighter with the "Michigan Man" on it.

MichiganMan2011

January 28th, 2014 at 8:44 PM ^

This whole thing may be the nail in the coffin for me. Really debating not putting up my PSD and just giving the money to CoE. How do you expect the public not to find out about what happened?

bronxblue

January 28th, 2014 at 8:58 PM ^

One point I'd like to add is that anyone acting as if RR "knew something" and covered it up needs to STFU.  Just because the guy didn't work out as a head coach doesn't mean we have to drag even more people through the mud, especially people who (again) followed the established rules for such a situation.  Unless contradictory evidence comes out, I have to assume that grown men with a reasonable amount of moral fiber wouldn't actively cover up a sexual assault by a player because, I don't know, they like his hair or they figured he'd be good 3 years later or some other crap.  

Ed Shuttlesworth

January 28th, 2014 at 9:04 PM ^

I'm still getting up to speed on this, but if there was a plausible allegation of sexual assault/rape in 2009, and Lewan and another player were part of an effort to cover up or influence witnesses, and Hoke and Brandon knew all this and let them all play from 2011 on, Hoke and Brandon should both be fired.

Obviously.

Sure glad Brandon was dicking around with the uniforms and all his other "branding" bullshit while this was going on.  Nice job, asshole.

Fucking sickening.

 

WindyCityBlue

January 28th, 2014 at 9:04 PM ^

I mean he has no B10 titles, a losing record against our main rivals, and his teams all around play sloppy.

All he had was the "he get's it" and "he recruits so well" and "he represents the school so well".

These memes are total lies now. Hoke has nothing to stand on.

Niels

January 28th, 2014 at 9:14 PM ^

1) I hope that, as in all these cases, justice was done. 

2) I hope that the victim is getting all the support they need

3) I think it is necessary for Hoke to do a Bill Simmons-like play by play of what he knew, when he knew it, and WHY he decided to engage with the media on this the way he did.

Since 1) and 2) are things I can never really (or likely won't) know, I'll focus on 3). If there was even the slightest hint that there was obfuscation and not some well thought out reasoning behind what he/they (Hoke, AD, whatever) then I think that UM really needs to examine whether or not these people are a good fit at UM. This is not just beacuse, as an alum, I think people need to be held accountable, especially on something like this. It also has to do with the much less important (big picture) but very important (UMFB-wise) issue, it goes against the core sales pitch UM makes to recruits.

The only thing I saw Hoke having going for him is the whole idea that he has created a family-like atmosphere in AA. This, along with a history that suggests a modified version of PSU (we do it right) and the academics thing, is what supposedly sets UM in a class with the ND's and Stanfords of the world. 

Thus, even if the explanation given is one that is not a fireable offense on its own, I think that this may be a time where the optics are such that such an action may be needed.

This whole thing sucks.

 

Bo inside all of us

January 28th, 2014 at 9:18 PM ^

I'm a fulltime faculty member at a university I won't name, where I sit on the panel that reviews these types of cases.  I do not suggest I know the intricacies of athletic department relations with adjudicating bodies in the institution, but I'll share a few of my experiences / insights in no particular order.  

1. "Penn State" is a catchphrase these days, and a scary one to institutions.  Since then Title IX adherence has taken on a whole new meaning.  See here for a brief introduction. http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/title-ix-rights-201104.p…. Many institutions are overhauling their related procedures.  

2. These procedures require privacy for both the complainant and the accused.  It's not out of the question that the accused in this case was granted that privacy, particularly given his public profile.  I think the discourse of this board suggests the necessity for privacy.  As such, it seems appropriate to me that Hoke would use some non-descript euphemism like 'family matters'.  Again, the accused has a right to privacy and any violation of that are grounds for complaint from the accused.  

3. The complainant has an abundance of rights, including no contact or any discourse with the accused.  I bet the university upheld that rule.  

4. Schools are required to deal with this in a timely manner, typically 60 days.  It is possible that the complainant didn't file a complaint until recently, but who knows?  It's possible (I haven't a clue) that a complaint could have been filed recently, despite the event occurring significantly in the past.  Perhaps the complainant started with legal complaints, but was unable to generate enough evidence to press charges, then later filed a complaint with the school. 

5. As Brian mentioned in the posting, the rules of Title IX say only "is it more or less likely that a violation occurred?"  Not "beyond a reasonable doubt", not "preponderance of evidence", etc.  Genuinely 51/49%.  This is rightly, and strongly, in favor of the complainant.  The nature and purpose of these rules is to provide a safe learning environment for each student equally.  Any perceived violation will and should inevitably favor the complainant. As such, it makes these matters extremely difficult to adjudicate.

Recently I went through continuing training in preparation for such a case.  It was grueling. Until you've had that experience, you have no idea how nebulous these cases may be. Between substance abuse clouding party’s judgment, memory, and the general disposition of 18-22 year old people, it's really difficult to come to a conclusion.   I went into the training experience assuming I'd side with the complainant, and came out of the experience thinking to myself.... "I know lots of people who might have done something like that."  You'd be surprised, really.  

7. Given "Penn State" I have a really hard time believing that there was some major cover-up involved to protect a freaking middling kicker on a middling big ten team.  The ramifications of the cover up are just far, far too great.  I'm going to assume there's a reasonable explanation until it's clarified otherwise.  I suggest you all do the same.  The kid got kicked out of school, and publicly shamed.  That may not be the only punishment, or it may be more that he deserved.  You never will know exactly what happened; I suggest you leave it at that.  The university is required to protect the privacy of all involved until the case is resolved and that may have driven the timing.   I would be shocked if they were obligated to inform the football coach of these proceedings.

8. Man oh man these situations are tough.

 

 

party like its 1989

January 28th, 2014 at 9:35 PM ^

Your comments are valuable. We should all slow down and think this through a bit before vilify our University, our AD and our coaching staff. They very well may have handled this a lot more appropriately than we realize. We're way short on facts.

Again, the whole thing is terrible, and my thoughts are with the young woman involved.

NittanyFan

January 28th, 2014 at 9:56 PM ^

is that ALL Universities will now be investigating (and reporting) literally "anything and everything" now.  If there is a question as to whether or not to investigate/report, they will, no doubt about it.

 

Combine that with the fact that the judgment on the accused's guilt is based on "is it more or less likely that a violation occurred?" ........ and it's a world where the accused is, frankly, in a pretty challenging situation once an accusation is made.

 

It's a worthwhile discussion --- obviously as a PSU alum our situation in 2011 was absurd and should never happen --- but to ensure something like that doesn't repeat, are our Nation's Universities reacting by going too far to the other side of the pendulum?

dakotapalm

January 28th, 2014 at 10:41 PM ^

"--- but to ensure something like that doesn't repeat, are our Nation's Universities reacting by going too far to the other side of the pendulum?"

 

Since what is at risk for the accused is not jail time, but rather being forced to leave a university and (perhaps) transfer to another institution, I think that's an okay price for keeping our campuses safer.

I know I would not have wanted my daughter in a class/ dorm room/ situation with the individuals in this case.

NittanyFan

January 28th, 2014 at 11:13 PM ^

google search "Brendan Gibbons" at ANY point for the rest of his life and the fact that he was "expelled from the University of Michigan after a sexual-misconduct investigation" will be among the top 10 results.

 

That's certainly not going to make any future job searches easier.

 

I respect your POV.  But for the above to be Gibbons' permanent legacy, based on a "51/49 standard", I cannot support that. 

Rabbit21

January 29th, 2014 at 6:24 AM ^

What about your son being in a classroom with someone who falsely accuses him of something like this and gets away with it because of the way this system is set up. Now he has to find a new college with the stigma of being expelled hanging over him as well as having to explain what happened during future job interviews. And it's not like college kids aren't going to continue getting drunk and hooking up with the attendant regrets, misunderstandings, and bad judgment.

This is not an easy issue, but if we're supposed to be thinking of the victims we need to be thinking of ALL of the victims.

bronxblue

January 28th, 2014 at 9:58 PM ^

Great stuff.  I've worked at a number of universities, and while not part of this type of work I can totally understand the grey areas you have to deal with.  Everyone hears Gibbons is gone and presumes the worst, and that may be the case.  Or it may be something far more nebulous, far more difficult, and most people probably won't ever know.  I fully expect that stuff will continue to leak out over the next couple fo weeks, mostly conjecture and rumors passed off as facts, but right now everyone needs to take a breath and wait for more than a press release-ish article and Twitter to fill in the gaps.

The FannMan

January 28th, 2014 at 10:01 PM ^

First, thank you for the comments.  It is great that this board has people who can offer first hand insight into things like this,

However, I find it very troubling that any "percieved" violaton is resolved in favor of the complaintant.  I am a lawyer and, in my world, the burden of proof rests on the moving party.  This is considered basic due process.  To say that a finding of a violation, which can have such serious consequences, can be based on a perception of a violation goes against traditional concepts of due process.  That is not 51/49.  That is really, prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are innocent or we will expell you.  As an arm of the state, the University is, IMHO, on thin ice here in terms of due process.  Perhaps I am overreading a few sentences of your post.  However, I do question the fairness of a process which is stacked in the favor of the accusser, especially where the consequences are so serious. 

I don't mean this as an attack on you, and I really appreciate your insight.  I just found your description of the policy to be very troubling.  In fact, I have a high school age daughter and I would be worried about sending her to U of M if she could be expelled after four years based on a "perception" that she did something wrong based on allegations from an accusser that she doesn't even have the right to face.  (This may not be a problem if she doesn't study harder, but that's anotherr matter.)

Also, in your experience, do you find that students refuse to participate in cases which are crimnial in nature.  I am not a criminal lawyer, but based on your description, I would advise anyone accused of a vioaltion which can be criminal not to participate,  I would have to tell them not to bother since the result is likely to go against them and does not justify the risks that any statement they give could be used against them.  I would have to tell them to withdraw and try to enroll elsewhere.

 

NittanyFan

January 28th, 2014 at 10:07 PM ^

Read this article from the WSJ about an Auburn student from just last month.  Very very very interesting read (and pertinent as relates to Gibbons)

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB100014240527023036153045791579001…

 

 

You may hit a pay-wall, this link will summarize:

 

http://www.mindingthecampus.com/forum/2013/12/the_scandal_at_auburn.html

Rabbit21

January 28th, 2014 at 10:27 PM ^

It may be the new reality, but if it is a system prone to abuse of innocent parties then it needs to be addressed and changed.  

If this new policy puts an accused person in an impossible situation, it needs to be changed plain and simple or else it will cause far more harm than help.

I thought this provided good perspective on the issue as well.

http://reason.com/archives/2013/12/17/guilty-until-proven-innocent

NittanyFan

January 29th, 2014 at 12:01 AM ^

I ... and EVERYONE here ... fully respect all those who are victims of sexual assault.

 

But until they are actually found guilty, those accused of such crimes also deserve respect.  

 

Part of that respect is: (1) not to be subject to some Bull Kaka 51/49 standard and (2) not to be tried by a Kangaroo Court University tribunal after they have already been cleared by actual law enforcement.

The FannMan

January 28th, 2014 at 10:40 PM ^

Preponderence of the evidence applies in civil cases, but that is not what was described.  Bo mentioned 51/49, but said that any preception of a violation = guilt.  That is not 51/49, nor is it a preponderence of the evidence.

Also, in any civil case, the planitiff has the burden of proof.  This is a standard jury instruction.  That is not the way Bo described the system.  His/her description suggested that all that was needed as a perception that something happened.

Also, civil proceedings have discovery, cross-examination, etc.  It didn't seem like the University's system allows the accussed to face the person making the accusation, or even learn who is making the allegation.

Urban Warfare

January 28th, 2014 at 10:56 PM ^

I agree it's troubling if that's how Bo's school interprets the standard of proof, but the actual standard is preponderance of the evidence.  If his school is interpreting the rule differently, that's a problem with his school, not the standard, which is that there must be a preponderance of the evidence that the accused committed the violation.  I'd also note that he indicated his approach to these cases changed from assuming he'd always side with the complainant to acknowledging how nuanced and difficult these cases can be after he went through his training. 

remdog

January 28th, 2014 at 11:00 PM ^

If the university is like others in this country, it's basically like a kangaroo court.  As I noted in another comment, it reminds me of a recent Auburn case.  If the evidence is inadequate for criminal charges (and the allegation is already quite old), then what gives the university the right to play judge, jury and executioner?

Again, maybe he's guilty or maybe he's not.  But there's a proper way for this stuff to be handled - through the courts.  Period.

Bo inside all of us

January 29th, 2014 at 2:06 PM ^

I'm honestly not sure where I come down on the matter. On one hand, yes, the legal system is the best way to handle general disputes.  However, these situations can be terribly gray and the university does have an obligation to ensure the safety of their students.  The university has the right to play judge and jury because attending the institution is a privledge not a right.  That's the thinking anyway. If the standard was set by criminal courts, the complainant could wait their entire academic career to resolve the matter, and in that time spend thousands of dollars in tuition at an institution where they're in fear of sexual assualt.  That doesn't have much of a ring to it, when a parent asks if their child will be safe while living in the dorms.  

It's a tough, tough issue and not as easily encapsulated as consuming media folk prefer. 

 

Bo inside all of us

January 29th, 2014 at 1:46 PM ^

I agree, the policy can be very troubling, and difficult as all hell to resolve.  

In part, the 51/49 standard is in place, as I understand it, because: 

1. providing a safe place for a student to live and study is the utmost responsibility of the university. 

2. attending the university is a privledge not a right. 

3. the accused privacy is granted (except when he's a football player apparently). 

I'm not arguing for or against the policy, but that seems to be the rationale. 

To your other questions, the hearings' proceedings are subpoena-able, as I understand them.  I know of a hearing where a lawyer was present and basically told the accused to not say anything.  As you mention, if it's also a criminal case, non-participation is about the only logical choice.  Of course, that increases the liklihood that you'll get expelled.... tough spot to be in.

  

Bo inside all of us

January 29th, 2014 at 7:37 PM ^

I did!  Thanks for mentioning.  Unique that a recent professional experience would pertain.  Unique and unfortunate, I suppose; but these issues are really huge in academia these days.  I guess it takes football players getting involved in order for it to make big news.  Cheers.  

 

C
 

Rabbit21

January 28th, 2014 at 10:05 PM ^

Regarding point #5: I don't know I'd say that the way the burden of proof is balanced is rightly in favor of the complainant.  To me it invites abuse.  There's got to be a better way to balance the scales than just we think there's a 51/49 balance that a person did it.  In that case it's FAR too easy to be influenced by emotional responses and one's pre-dispositions.  I don't think this serves the cause of a safe environment as it introduces some pretty life altering consequences for issues that may have arisen due to a bad break-up or a misunderstanding.  The intent may be good, but the execution is just too open to abuse for me to be comfortable with it.

Bo inside all of us

January 29th, 2014 at 1:56 PM ^

I would tend to agree with your comments, at least in theory.  That said, the gumption and certitude it takes a student to raise such a complaint, go through the process, etc. is, in my experience, a significant deterrent to abuse.  As I've witnessed, these hearings are very emotionally traumatizing for the complainant.  The write a written statement, and are asked questions about the statement.  They can also be asked questions based on the accused statements.  It can be really tough.  Furthermore, there is significant inquiry and questioning.  No one takes expulsion lightly.  Anecdotally, I've never seen a complainant "celebrate a win", mostly they just feel a sense of relief that the accused isn't going to be on campus any more.  

That said, your final sentence is scarily true.  Again, many of these cases are between people who are familiar with one another, as most date rape is.  They may have been sexually active in the past, for example.  One may have consented while highly intoxicated, blacked out, then awakened to believe they didn't consent.  One of the more detailed rules at some universities is that it is a violation to proceed with sex if the person is 'temporarily' unable to consent, aka, said yes, blacked out, said no.   

It's terrifying for all parties involved.... including the jury.