Court Rules Against That Miami University of Ohio Violated Student’s Rights In Sexual Abuse Case

download-1Miami University in Ohio lost a major case in court after a student appealed his ban from the university after being accused on sexual misconduct.  U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett ordered that the anonymous student known as “John Nokes” reinstated and found glaring unfairness in the rules and procedures of the university.  As I have previously discussed, the Obama Administration forced many schools to limit due process rights of accused students in sexual misconduct cases.


The court  ordered the university to let “John Nokes” back on campus and not to release his name (though the no-contact order remained in force).  One of the most interesting portions of the decision deals with the university’s rule on intoxication.  It is undisputed that both students had been drinking.  Nokes said that “Jane Roe” came on to him at a bar and that they ended up in a private dorm bathroom.  Two hearing panel members maintained that any alcohol consumption by Roe would negate her consent — any alcohol.  Here is the transcribed relevant statements, including the final statement from susan-vaughnSusan Vaughn, who presided over the hearing and is the director of the Ethics and Student Conflict Resolution office:

MR. SCOTT: What does [mandatory student training] say about alcohol?

MR. [JOHN NOKES]: That an excess of alcohol is not — an excess of alcohol does not — you can’t give consent if you have a large amount of alcohol.

MR. SCOTT: It’s says large amount?

MR. [JOHN NOKES]: This is from my understanding, sure.

MR. SCOTT: It says alcohol. It does not say amount.

MR. [JOHN NOKES]: So with that definition — I’m honestly just asking, but that definition if everybody on this campus who takes a drink of alcohol and kisses their boyfriend or girlfriend, is that nonconsensual?

MS. VAUGHN: Potentially, yes.

The court noted that Nokes was told only three weeks earlier that he was charged with “sexual assault by the use of force or threat of force.” He was never told that he was also charged with assaulting an incapacitated student. Moreover, three key witnesses for Roe never showed up for the hearing but Vaugh insisted that she must “take this as fact. That is all true.”  This included the key witness who said that she found a distraught Roe after the incident.

The school officials only made it worse by arguing that nothing could have changed their minds anyway:

Specifically, in response to Plaintiff’s argument that he would have challenged witness credibility had he been given the opportunity to cross-examine (i.e., lack of personal knowledge, memory, etc.), Defendants argue that Plaintiff “was able to do all of these things himself through his statements to the Hearing Panel.” … Defendants miss the point of cross examination, which allows the fact-finder to assess witness demeanor and responses in order to “assess the credibility of those who disclaim any improper motivations.” … If anything, Defendants’ claim that no amount of cross-examination could have changed the minds of the hearing panel members arguably undercuts the fairness of the hearing Plaintiff received.

The decision will hopefully further calls for a reexamination of university rules in such cases and the return of core due process rights for students and faculty accused of wrongdoing.

31 thoughts on “Court Rules Against That Miami University of Ohio Violated Student’s Rights In Sexual Abuse Case”

  1. What seems to be lost, or, at least, missed here is the time, effort and cost ( the least of which was financial ) by the institution of Title 1X rules by a President who is often mentioned as having studied and even taught Constitutional law.
    Perhaps, Title 1X, President Obama, or any President are not the issue, problem or cause.
    Perhaps, it is we the people who desire to do “good,” even better than “good” … moral, self righteous behavior are the issue, problem or cause.
    In other words, the law just isn’t “good” enough.

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    C. S. Lewis
    English essayist & juvenile novelist (1898 – 1963)

    A man once asked me: why do ” bad” people not go to “Hell?
    After some very unsatisfactory attempts to answer, I was “informed:”
    Bad people do not go to “Hell” because “Hell” is overflowing with all the people who knew they were doing good!
    dennis hanna

  2. How would you, Jonathan Turley, handle such cases if you were in charge of how a university is to respond to allegations of sexual harrassment or assault?

  3. When I was in college, women would have a drink or two so that they could consent to sex. Truly. Alcohol weakens inhibitions. Men and women both use it socially for that reason.

    Much of what’s happening on college campuses today is completely insane, and I say that as a liberal.

  4. The Obama administration ‘forced’ administrations to do what they were inclined to do anyway.

    What hits you about these cases as delineated by KC Johnson, FIRE, and Glenn Reynolds is the glaringly vicious stupidity (and, often, the gamesmanship) engaged in by the faculty and administration responsible for these travesties. They have to go out of their way to be this bad, and the trial court decisions and settlements reached elsewhere never seem to constitute persuasive authority in the minds of their counsel (or they do not listen to their bloody lawyers).

    Thomas Sowell had a pithy remark about college admissions offices which I cannot rephrase. It incorporated the observation that discretionary authority is commonly allocated to mediocre people ill-suited to the tasks they are asked to perform. One reason they’re ill-suited to those tasks is that they are addled by bad social ideologies. In this case, it’s the feminist mindset: women have options and men have obligations (commonly conjoined to the view that masculinity is pathological and that women cannot be held accountable for anything – or can only be held accountable by other women for offenses against those other women). Another element you see here is the bureaucratic stupids you commonly see in the world of educational administration because school administration is a profession that attracts dolts with master’s degrees.

    1. “Dolts with master’s degrees”

      How do you really feel about those folks?

      Great post!

    2. because school administration is a profession that attracts dolts with master’s degrees.

      It’s a race to the bottom of school administration, because the dolts that fill these positions are the same dolts deemed qualified to bring in the next round of dolts who are unlikely to be more qualified than those hiring them.

  5. Sounds like the school administrators had drafted their conclusion before actually doing a thorough investigation. Where would they get such an idea?

    1. Indeed. It seems Obama’s law professor views were the Constitution was voluntary.

  6. Miami U. Of Ohio is named after the Miami Indian tribe who lived in the Miami valley in Ohio. A graduate of the college became a real estate developer in Florida who named Miami Fl. thus Miami university of Fl.

    1. This is a confusing attribution that I have heard before, but there apparently are two “Miami” people. It is my understanding that Miami Florida was named after the Miami River. That name came from the Mayaimi tribe that lived in south Florida around Lake Okeechobee. A woman by the name of Tuttle convinced Henry Flagler to bring the railroad to Miami. I beleive she was a large landowner there.

      I think the confusion comes from the fact that there is another Miami tribe somewhere in the north (Ohio?) that is totally unrelated to the Mayaimi. To further further confuse things I believe, though Tuttle lived in Texas, that she may have been born in Cleveland Ohio.

    1. Wait. What?! Oh! You agree with the COURT’s decision, not the university’s kangaroo court. Agreed! Scared me for a minute there.

  7. Rape is a crime and so prosecuted in the courts. Bad conduct is an administrative matter for the university; the penalty is disenrollment. Where the two overlap is beyond my ken.

  8. How did Miami University end up in Ohio? And, how did Oxford end up in Ohio?
    This summer I hear them coming. Four dead in O Hi O.

  9. It is amazing that it appears that what is really a highly technical field, the administration of law, has been put into the hands of non-lawyers who haven’t got a clue as to what jurisprudence means in any sense of the word. They have no training of what due process even means, and bring everyday folksy standards to a fact finding hearing that require both a rigorous adherence to substantive and procedural due process.
    These self-important schmucks who have been given the power to ruin innocent students’ lives, just don’t belong in that position.
    They are institutional administrators and human resources wonks who have a whole ‘nother skill set in their professional lives, and are liberal arts majors who can’t fit their mindsets into a very tight rule based forum.
    The defects that would come out of this ‘trial’ were predictable from the start.

  10. The entire foundation of the legal argument against Trump Re. sanctuary locations for illegal immigrants is that Trump can not financially extort city, county, and state government institutions to enforce Trump’s interpretation of any legal statute, in this case immigration law.

    But when Jesus Obama did the exact same thing (financial blackmail forcing Universities to flush constitutional defendant rights down the toilet Re. claims of sexual crimes), the entire Progressive universe (looking at you, Isaac) stands up and screams, “Go Jesus Obama, Go!”

    If this brain dead blonde twerp Ms. Vaughn over saw the half dozen cases of women who claimed Jesus Clinton committed sex crimes against them, Jesus Clinton would still be rotting in prison. Oh no, scratch that, Progressives can’t commit sex crimes, nor can they be guilty or RAYsizm.

  11. A win for common sense on college campuses everywhere, albeit all too rare these days.

    1. If it is not common then there is no sense to it. In fact there is no sense much less cents left on college campuses everywhere. Went in dumb, come out dumb too. Hustlin round Atlanta in their alligator shoes. Ol Mizzou.

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