Federal court partially grants injunction against UM in lawsuit over sexual assault policy
A federal court partially granted and partially denied a temporary restraining order and injunction in a lawsuit against the University of Michigan by a student accused of sexual assault. U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Tarnow says the University of Michigan must hold a live hearing for a student accused of sexual assault -- and let him question his accuser.
The student, identified as John Doe, claims he has been denied due process by UM's sexual misconduct policy. As a result of a sexual assault complaint filed by a female student in March 2018, the University placed a hold on Doe's transcripts and degree. He has been admitted to graduate school for the fall of 2018, and claims that the holds are adversely affecting his ability to pursue his education or seek employment.
UM's Policy and Procedures on Student Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct and Other Forms of Interpersonal Violence allows an investigator to meet privately with the claimant to conduct an interview, and separately with the accused. The accused may submit questions to be asked of the claimant or other witnesses, but the investigator may or may not ask the questions. There is no live hearing under this policy.
Judge Tarnow agreed that the accused student was likely to be successful in his claim that he has been denied due process. Tarnow ordered UM to provide a live hearing in his case.
However, Tarnow denied John Doe's request to question the alleged sexual assault victim directly. Instead, he granted cross examination through a third party. This alternate procedure was recommended by the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights in the interests of the claimant's well-being.
The ruling also denied the plaintiff's motion to stop UM from following its sexual misconduct policy in cases involving other students.