The University is denying a freshman’s allegations that Student Judicial Services conducted flawed hearings and falsely found him guilty of sexual assault, saying in court documents that his case lacks merit and will likely flop.
GW’s rebuttal is a response to a lawsuit the student, named under the pseudonym John Doe in court documents, filed in April. He alleges that SJS violated the Code of Student Conduct during judicial proceedings, resulting in unfair hearings and his wrongful one-year suspension.
He is suing for a total of $6 million in damages, on counts including negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of the gender equality law, Title IX.
SJS determined the student was guilty of sexually assaulting a female student, called Jane Roe in court documents, who was intoxicated and thus unable to provide her consent.
“At the resulting disciplinary hearing, Doe admitted he had sex with Roe and that she was ‘obviously drunk’ leading up to the incident,” GW’s opposition statement said. “Accordingly, GW concluded that Doe violated its prohibition against sexual assault.”
The University also filed to end the court’s hiatus on the student’s suspension during court hearings, saying the suspension would not cause him any “irreparable harm.”
“GW suspended Doe because it found that he committed extremely serious code violations,” the opposition statement said. “Unhappy with that decision, he has sued. But Doe likely will lose his underlying claims.”
The student has remained at GW while the case is processed.
In a response to GW’s statement, the plaintiff filed a statement arguing that the female student’s intoxication should not automatically establish the plaintiff as guilty and that GW’s lawyers are misrepresenting the code.
The code defines consent as requiring “actual words or conduct indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse, or to participate in sexual activities.” It also says impairment resulting from alcohol or drug usage can be considered a factor at University disciplinary hearings.
The University also rebuked allegations that it violated the Code of Student Conduct’s guidelines for disciplinary hearings, according to court documents. The statement said GW “need only substantially comply with its disciplinary procedures.”
GW makes clear that disciplinary proceedings “are not criminal or civil trials, that criminal or civil standards of due process and rules of evidence are not controlling,” according to the documents.
The plaintiff’s lawyers, Matthew Kaiser and Gregory Smith, declined to comment for this article.