Male Students Disciplined for Sexual Assault Usually Lose Title IX Lawsuits

Title IX arguments don’t seem to be an effective legal recourse for males after they’ve been punished by colleges for sexual assault.

On June 15, a federal court dismissal was the latest in a series of unsuccessful attempts by male students to sue colleges for Title IX violations related to their punishments after school sexual assault hearings.

The most recent lawsuit was filed by a former student of the University of South Florida who claimed the school violated Title IX when they suspended him for sexual assault. The student said he was a victim of gender discrimination because males are often found guilty in such cases.

The student, identified only as John Doe in court documents, was not alone. Legal experts are noticing a trend of Title IX lawsuits filed by male students after being found guilty in sexual assault cases. The problem for such plaintiffs is that the lawsuits are rarely effective.

For instance, a New York district declined Title IX cases brought by males against Vassar College and Columbia University in April and an Ohio court dismissed a male student’s Title IX suit against Miami University in May, according to the Huffington Post.

Erin Buzuvis, Director of the Center for Gender and Sexuality Studies, says students may be pursuing Title IX arguments, despite more obvious legal arguments, as a form of symbolism.

Regardless, it is clear other paths to suing schools after a punishment have often proven more successful. A student recently won a lawsuit over the University of California San Diego after he filed a due process claim following the school’s punishment for sexual assault. Additionally a male student’s breach of contract suit was settled with the University of Pennsylvania last year.

Still, in some cases it doesn’t matter what legal strategy you choose. In John Doe’s case against USF, he also argued the university violated his due process rights, but both his due process and Title IX arguments were rejected.

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