Yale has been sued by men claiming gender discrimination

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Yale Sterling library
The
three lawsuits, and the potential for more, pose a threat to
Yale.


Sage
Ross, Wikimedia Commons



  • Yale has been sued by three men who claim Yale’s
    sexual-misconduct committee discriminated against them based on
    their gender or denied them their due-process rights.
  • The university has also been the subject of two
    Department of Education investigations since 2011.
  • The threat of lawsuits may contribute to the severity
    of punishments Yale issues for sexual misconduct
    findings.

Yale University has been the subject of three lawsuits and two
federal investigations since 2011 that center on the university’s
ability to examine claims of sexual misconduct.

The school is currently facing two lawsuits (another recently
ended in an undisclosed
settlement)
. All three by men who say Yale’s
sexual-misconduct committee discriminated against them based on
their gender or denied them their due-process rights.

The highest-profile case is a suit filed by Jack Montague, a
former varsity men’s basketball captain expelled during his
senior-year second semester for “penetration without consent,”
according to Yale. Montague’s expulsion helped mar a historic
men’s basketball season for the Yale Bulldogs, ahead of the NCAA
Tournament. The suit asks Yale to reinstate Montague as a student
in good standing and award him monetary damages. The case is
still in litigation.

One of the men who filed a federal suit against Yale
simultaneously filed a complaint with the Department of
Education’s Office for Civil Rights, alleging Yale discriminated
against him in a misconduct hearing because of his gender. In
April 2017 under the Trump Administration’s guidance, the OCR
launched an investigation into his claims. The investigation
ended in September as a result of rule prohibiting the OCR from
investigating claims in litigation in federal court, the Yale Daily News
reported.

Yale was previously the subject of a 2011 OCR investigation
under the Obama administration for claims the university failed
to eliminate a “hostile
sexual environment on campus.”

These lawsuits, and the potential for more, pose a threat
to Yale.

“Yale has some very good cost-benefit-analysis lawyers who
talk about the school’s liability,” Colby Bruno, a senior legal
counsel at the Victim Rights Law Center, told Business
Insider.


In this Nov. 22, 2015 photo, Yale's Jack Montague attempts a shot during an NCAA college basketball game against SMU in Dallas. Yale announced on Feb. 24, 2016, that Montague was no longer on the team. Citing federal privacy law, Yale declined to give details and confirmed only that Montague is no longer a student. Montague's father has said he was expelled from the school in February. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Jack
Montague.


AP
Photo/Tony Gutierrez



Bruno said that the threat of lawsuits may contribute to the
severity of punishments Yale issues for sexual misconduct
findings.

“When you are a school and you
are looking into mitigation you think, ‘You know what? What’s the
likelihood that she’s gonna sue, and what’s the likelihood that
he’s gonna sue?'” Bruno said. “And the likelihood is more that
he’s going to sue. So you get them off the campus for a little
bit and then you let them back on.”

Business Insider found 15 cases where Yale issued a finding
of “penetration without consent,” “nonconsensual sex,” or
“intercourse without consent.” Yale has issued five expulsions.
The 10 other instances received suspension, probation, or a
written reprimand.

But Yale’s punishments for findings of non-consensual sex may
also be related to the “preponderance of evidence” standard
that colleges use. The standard — evidence that means there’s a
51% likelihood, which is used for many types of claims in civil
lawsuits — is lower than required in court for criminal
cases.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos believes college sexual
misconduct systems discriminate against men because they
deny the men due-process rights. “Washington’s push to require
schools to establish these quasi-legal structures to address
sexual misconduct comes up short for far too many students,”
DeVos said in a speech in December, before pledging to dismantle
the current rules.

For its part, Yale says punishments are doled out on a
case-by-case basis. “Our decision makers work hard and
conscientiously to calibrate discipline appropriate for each
case, taking into account all relevant factors, while upholding
the principle that these are educational processes,” it said in a
statement to Business Insider. (The
full statement is available here.
)


Read more about sexual assault at Yale and the university’s
response to it here »

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