The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently entered the debate on the fairness of sexual misconduct investigations at colleges and universities. Doe v. Univ. of Denver, — F.3d –, 2020 WL 1126638 (10th Cir. March 9, 2020). The circuit court affirmed summary judgment for the University of Denver (DU), and in the process, rejected plaintiff’s section 1983 and Title IX claims, but not without expressing some reservations.
DU’s Disciplinary Process
In the fall of 2014, plaintiff, a male freshman at DU, had a sexual encounter with Jane Doe, a female freshman, in his dorm room. Six months later, Jane’s boyfriend reported the encounter to DU as a sexual assault. Jane Doe later filed a complaint of non-consensual sexual contact with DU’s Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO). Two defendants, OEO’s director and an investigator, interviewed both plaintiff and Jane twice, allowed plaintiff to list additional witnesses, and also interviewed plaintiff’s roommate and Jane’s boyfriend. Id. at *2.
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