A Delaware State University student is suing that school for defamation of character and violation of his civil rights delawareonline.com. reported yesterday.
Andre L. Henry was brought up on criminal charges after a woman with whom he had consensual sex on October 24 falsely accused him of raping her. The charges were dropped on November 1 according to his lawsuit but around that time the University notified him that he was barred from campus pending an investigation and hearing provided by the school. He was not allowed on campus grounds or adjacent areas for 45 days.
“For 45 days he was kicked out of his home, … he was kicked off campus, he was kicked out of school, all based on an allegation” said Daniel C. Herr, Henry’s attorney. “You can’t do that for 45 days and then finally say ‘Oh, we’ve come to our decision. He was found not guilty.’ ”
On Nov. 1 Henry was informed by DSU’s Director of Student Judicial Affairs, Paula Duffy, that a hearing would be held in front the General Judicial Council on Nov. 6. The suit says that he was not informed of his right to have an attorney present.
The suit also says he was not informed of his right to remain silent and that he was not given the right to face his accuser who was not present at the hearing.
A separate hearing, of which Henry wasn’t informed, was held especially for the alleged victim.
Jesse Allen, Henry’s roommate, testified at his hearing saying he had been in the apartment’s common room the evening Henry and the woman had sex and testified the woman did not scream for Henry to stop, as she previously alleged.
Henry’s suspension was lifted upon the conclusion of the hearing.
“We found out yesterday that his on-campus disciplinary charges were found to be ‘not responsible,'” said Herr on Tuesday, referring to DSU’s General Judicial Council’s investigation.“We are still moving forward for damages because he was suspended for a total of 45 days pending a full investigation and full hearing, which we allege is a violation to his right to due process,”
The lawsuit comes at a time when the Department of Education and Department of Justice has come under fire for recent developments in the way they expect schools to pursue alleged sexual assaults and sexual harassment. On November 14 the Department of Education, in a letter sent to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, renounced it’s overall support of the “blueprint” letter drafted by the Department of Justice in which it was deemed appropriate to suspend students, as well as meting out other punishments, before hearings were even held.
“The lawsuit looks good on DSU, and this sort of thing is way overdue. Colleges and universities have been blatantly violating the civil rights of male students since the Obama administration issued the ‘Dear Collegue’ letter’,” said Paul Elam, a men’s advocate and founder of A Voice for Men. “If they won’t stop it for the sake of decency, then perhaps financially bleeding them will do the trick.”