CINCINNATI — The University of Cincinnati paid $47,152 to settle a lawsuit filed by a male student who claimed he never got a fair chance to defend himself against sexual assault accusations made by a female student.
The male graduate student, identified as John Doe in his 2016 lawsuit, alleged the university violated due process and Title IX in the way officials treated him after a female student accused him of sexually assaulting her.
The sexual encounter happened in September 2015, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati.
The students met on Tinder and spoke online for several weeks before she came to Doe’s apartment late one night. Doe said the sex was consensual. The female student, identified as Jane Roe in the lawsuit, over a month later reported it to the university as a sexual assault.
UC presumed Doe was guilty "in order to look good for the Department of Education and advocates,” according to the lawsuit.
"UC's decision-makers and its investigator were motivated to favor the accusing female over the accused male, so as to protect themselves and UC from accusations that they had failed to protect female students from sexual assault," according to the lawsuit. “Schools treat male students accused of sexual misconduct with a presumption of guilt.”
Doe specifically sued Aniesha Mitchell, director of judicial affairs and student conduct and community standards, and Juan Guardia, assistant vice president of student affairs and dean of students.
UC's Title IX coordinator questioned both students about the encounter. University officials held a hearing and found Doe guilty of violating the student code of conduct.
In his lawsuit, Doe alleged the university never gave him a fair chance to defend himself because Roe was not at the hearing for him to question her.
Doe appealed, but the university rejected his appeal and suspended him effective Dec. 10, 2016, according to the complaint.
If he had not filed the lawsuit, he would not have been eligible to re-enroll until Jan. 2, 2018.
U.S. District Judge Michael Barrett issued a preliminary injunction on Nov. 30, 2016, prohibiting the university from imposing any disciplinary sanctions against Doe while the case worked its way through the court system.
Two years later, in November 2018, both sides signed a settlement agreement.
As part of the settlement, UC agreed to pay $47,152 in Doe’s attorneys’ fees and to drop his suspension and all disciplinary sanctions.
The results of the June 2016 disciplinary hearing will not appear on Doe’s official transcript. The university will remove the finding of “responsible,” from his record about the incident, according to the settlement
Doe agreed not to contact Roe and not to publicly disclose her identity.
As part of the settlement, UC officials agreed not to make any public statements about the case. The settlement states that neither side admits liability or wrongdoing.
Former UC spokesman Greg Vehr told WCPO in October 2016 that the university had never settled a Title IX lawsuit.