The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Ex-student sues SMU over suspension

Ex-student+sues+SMU+over+suspension

An ex-SMU student is suing the school for $750,000 in federal court, arguing that he was suspended unfairly after he was accused of raping a female student at a 2006 fraternity party.

The student is only identified as “John Doe” in documents. He is seeking the money as damages in addition to wanting his record cleared. The student says he has been unable to gain admission to other schools because SMU flagged his transcript as a rapist. It was only after extraordinary measures that he was able to earn admission to Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz. He also says he has been unable to gain employment due to the incident.

SMU spokesperson Kent Best released a prepared statement to The Daily Campus about the lawsuit.

“SMU attorneys received a 35-page complaint Tuesday afternoon and have notyet had adequate time to review its contents,” the statement said. “When they have done so, SMU will make a timely response to the litigation in court.”

The ex-student was from Southlake, TX and entered SMU as a first-year in August 2005. According to the lawsuit, he met the young woman at an off-campus fraternity party on Jan. 21, 2006. The two students couldn’t even agree on that.

He said the two went back to his room in a campus residence hall and had consensual sex.

She claimed she began to feel sick and dizzy after consuming part of a drink that tasted like cranberry juice. After that, a stranger offered to drive her home from the party and took her to his room and raped her, according to the lawsuit.

The ex-student claims that SMU administrators “railroaded him” during the school’s judicial hearing process and he was unable to defend himself from the allegations being presented. His lawyers told The Dallas Morning News that the April 28, 2006 proceedings were “a kangaroo court sort of proceeding that appears to be a form of political correctness run amok.”

The student’s legal team makes strong allegations against the validity of SMU’s judicial hearing process. They say the assistant dean of student life acted as an advocate of the young woman. SMU policy states that the person in that position is to remain an impartial mediator. They also claim the disciplinary panel was allowed to hear unsubstantiated claims that the young man “pushes himself on women.”

During the proceedings the chair of the panel ruled drugs could not be discussed. But the lawsuit says the school allowed an SMU psychologist to testify over the effects of date-rape drugs, despite the fact the accuser had testified she was “100 percent sure” the young man had not drugged her.

The lawyers for the ex-student say insufficient evidence was presented.

The young woman was unable to provide a rape kit or any medical records at the hearing and never pressed charges with local police.

They also criticized the timing of several parts of the hearing.

The ex-student said he was given eight days to prepare for the hearing and got a hold of the woman’s full statement on the incident five minutes before the hearing started. The young woman had been talking with student life officials for three months, according to the ex-student.

The hearing itself dragged into the early morning of April 29. It finally concluded at 12:30 a.m. At that point the panel asked the ex-student to come back in six-and-a-half hours to give his closing statement. The reason for the short time frame was the fact that one panel member had prior commitments.

The ex-student was expelled that day according to the lawsuit.

He did appeal and wound up receiving a somewhat lighter sentence – one-year suspension from SMU and probation for the rest of his time at college.

The ex-student at that point decided to leave SMU and apply to schools elsewhere.

No court date has been set at this point.

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