Northeast Edition

Male student sues Occidental over campus sex policy

EAGLE ROCK — An Occidental College student who was expelled after being found in violation of school policy for having sex with a 17-year-old female classmate when he was a freshman has sued the university, alleging gender bias.

It’s the second Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit that the plaintiff, identified as John Doe, has filed against Occidental. In a previous suit, he alleged the college failed to give him a fair hearing, follow its own sexual misconduct policy and provide sufficient evidence for the finding.

Occidental spokesman Jim Tranquada said he had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment.

The current suit alleges Title IX violations and maintains Occidental’s discipline of Doe occurred in part because of “internal and external forces demanding Occidental find more male students responsible for sexually assaulting female students.”

The complaint states that colleges and universities have been under pressure from the federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights to address sexual violence on campus or face the withholding of federal education money.

Occidental received $13.5 million in federal money during the 2013-14 academic year, according to the plaintiff.

The suit states that on Sept. 8, 2013, John Doe’s accuser sought him out in his dormitory room and told him that she wanted to have sex with him. She left, but returned to his room, and they had sex, according to the complaint.

Published reports stated that an attorney hired by Occidental to investigate the matter concluded that the female student did indeed consent to sex, but that because she was intoxicated, her consent was invalid.

“Even though Jane Doe initiated sexual activity with John Doe, Occidental ultimately and unlawfully expelled John Doe from Occidental,” the suit alleges.

In December 2013, John Doe was found to have violated Occidental’s sexual misconduct policy by engaging in a sexual assault and non-consensual contact with Jane Doe, according to his court papers.

“Occidental violated John Doe’s rights and/or Title IX [protections] in part because Occidental knew or should have known their actions would have an adverse impact on male students alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct with a female student and were deliberately indifferent to this impact,” the suit alleges.

The District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the plaintiff, according to his court papers.