Recently, the US District Court, Alexandria Division, reviewed a student’s cry of foul for GMU’s decision to expel him based upon sexual misconduct and threats in John Doe v. Rector & Visitors of GMU. Check out the article here.
A Few Facts About the Case.
While the underlying facts of the case are graphic, this case sheds light in how Courts review university disciplinary practices. Here, the Plaintiff had been involved in a sexual relationship with a female student of another university. While I’ll spare you the details (which you can read about elsewhere), he was alleged to have taken the sexual relations too far as well as sending the female a threatening text.
What makes the case unique is that the Plaintiff actually won his case before the original hearing provided under GMU’s Disciplinary Procedures. However, the matter was appealed, several procedural deficits occurred, and he was expelled. The procedural issues included an arguably biased hearing officer reviewing the appeal, having ex parte communications with witnesses, and not providing specific details as to what the Plaintiff was being expelled for.
The Court Found GMU Violated the Plaintiff's Due Process Rights.
Ultimately, the Virginia Court found that GMU violated the Plaintiff’s Due Process rights because they didn’t allow him proper procedure nor notice of the claims against him.
In its decision, the Court was clear that it didn’t intend to set specific rules for GMU to follow in its disciplinary hearings; however, that GMU still needed to provide proper Due Process given that it is a state actor.
If You're Facing a School Disciplinary Hearing, Read this Case.
If you’re facing possible disciplinary action by your school, this case is a must read. If you have any questions, give us a call at BenGlassLaw