Lawsuit filed against University
On April 9, an alumnus filed a lawsuit against the University for its founding of “false allegations of sexual misconduct” against him by his ex-boyfriend, another Brandeis student.
The alumnus—referred to in the complaint as “John Doe”—filed a complaint with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, demanding a trial and asking for $75,000 in damages. The University has 60 days from the time the complaint was filed to either respond to it or dismiss it.
According to Doe’s complaint, he wishes to “obtain equitable and declaratory relief for legal damages based on causes of action for violations of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, breach of contract, invasion of privacy,” and more. In January 2014, Doe’s ex-boyfriend—referred to in the complaint by the pseudonym “J.C.”—filed a Community Standards Report with the University alleging that Doe had “numerous, inappropriate, nonconsensual sexual interactions” with him over the course of their 21-month relationship, according to the complaint. Doe was placed on emergency suspension, the complaint states, following J.C.’s filing of the CSR.
In the months following, the two students entered into a Special Examiner’s Process, which the 2014-2015 Rights and Responsibilities handbook describes as the process used “in cases where the University receives a report from a willing accuser who is a current Brandeis community member ... and determines that one or more possible violations of section 3 or gender-based behaviors from any other section exist.” The April 9 complaint comes after Doe filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education this fall alleging that “Brandeis wrongly disciplined him, violated Title IX’s mandate that both parties involved in sexual misconduct cases be treated fairly, and failed to equitably consider John’s claim that, if what John did violated the University’s sexual misconduct policies, then J.C. ... was equally culpable of sexual misconduct toward John,” the complaint states.
On Apr. 15, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education published an article about the April 9 complaint, writing that: “By implementing a seriously flawed procedure and abandoning common sense in order to discipline Doe, Brandeis effectively set a standard that makes everyone who’s ever been in a relationship guilty of sexual assault.”
The University did not respond to request for comment by press time.