Doe V. Clemson University -Zachary Faria

Clemson University will be settling a federal lawsuit from June of 2016 filed by a student who was suspended for a sexual encounter he claimed was consensual, according to the Anderson Independent Mail.

The student, who is identified as John Doe in court documents, was suspended for six months and evicted from his dorm over an October 2015 sexual encounter with another Clemson student. According to the lawsuit, John Doe and the female student identified as Jane Doe met at a fraternity party off-campus on October 24th, John Doe’s birthday. The suit states that both students had been drinking and left the party to have intercourse in a small covered building. The female student then sent a text message to the male student the next morning about the previous night, but she later claimed she had no recollection of the event. After consulting a university counselor, she filed a formal complaint 18 days after the incident on November 11th, 2015.

After filing an appeal, the ruling against John Doe was upheld and his suspension increased to one year. John Doe had also filed a second lawsuit against Jane Doe and another student identified as Charles Doe, where he alleged that the two of them conspired to bring a false case against him. The suit was dropped in April of 2017, four months after it was filed.

The settled lawsuit named eight defendants: Clemson University, University President Jim Clements, the Clemson Board of Trustees, Director of Campus Recreation David Frock, Vice President for Student Affairs Almeda Jacks, former Associate Director of Athletics Loreto Jackson, Director of Residential Learning Suzanne Price and University Title IX Coordinator Alesia Smith.

The settled suit is part of a larger trend of students alleging that Universities punished them for sexual misconduct that did not occur. According to Brooklyn College professor KC Johnson, co-author of The Campus Rape Frenzy, Clemson’s settlement is at least the 29th federal lawsuit against a university regarding sexual misconduct settled before a judge could make a decision in recent years. Clemson’s settlement coincides with a settlement by Liberty University, who became the 32nd University to settle after an adverse decision.

Clemson’s settlement also comes on the heels of another incident of alleged sexual misconduct. On February 28th, Oconee County sheriffs arrested Clemson freshman Sarah Campbell on a felony charge after allegedly falsifying a sexual assault report. Campbell maintains that she was sexually assaulted at a frat party in January, and her preliminary hearing is scheduled for April. The allegations spurred Clemson’s Interfraternity Council (IFC) to suspend all social events by Clemson fraternities. Despite knowledge that the Sheriff’s office claimed the report was false, the IFC instituted new restrictions on fraternity social events.

 

The TTO reached out to all parties in the lawsuit for comment but did not receive responses in time for publication.

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