Judge Drops Suit Against Colgate Over Expulsion for Sexual Misconduct

The lawsuit was filed by a former student who was suspended after being found responsible by a conduct board for three counts of sexual abuse.

Judge Drops Suit Against Colgate Over Expulsion for Sexual Misconduct

Part of the lawsuit claimed bias towards women due to student activism on college campuses.

A lawsuit filed by an anonymous former student, claiming Colgate University officials unlawfully expelled him after three female students alleged he sexually assaulted them, has been dropped by a judge.

On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn dismissed the lawsuit brought on by John Doe in August 2015, according to the New York Law Journal. The plaintiff’s attorney says he plans to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

The former student was expelled in April 2015 after being found responsible by a conduct board for three instances of sexual misconduct during his 2011-2012 academic year. The plaintiff claims the touching was consensual.

In Judge Kahn’s 59-page decision, he addresses each of Doe’s arguments point-by-point. His decision concluded that the Hamilton, N.Y., school followed its own procedures and did not violate any laws, reports Syracuse.com.

The lawsuit against Colgate alleged the school was in violation of Title IX as it was biased towards women due to student activism and publicity surrounding the “Mattress Girl” lawsuit.

Former Columbia University student Paul Nungesser settled a lawsuit with the school in July after a student who claimed he raped her carried a mattress around campus after he was found not responsible by the school.

Nungesser claimed the school’s handling of the incident created a hostile environment and he was discriminated against because he is male. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.

Judge Kahn wrote that the plaintiff “fails to provide sufficient evidence that gender bias motivated Colgate’s decision to expel him.”

John Doe’s lawsuit also alleged Colgate’s investigation was tainted and biased as its primary investigator, Val Brogan, had previously worked in the Abused Persons Unit at the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department.

“This assessment of Brogan’s history with alleged sexual assault perpetrators is entirely conjectural, however, and the court rejects the notion that a person must harbor bias against men because that person handled sexual assault cases while working for law enforcement,” Kahn wrote in response to the allegation.

Kahn reprimanded Doe and his lawyer, Andrew Miltenberg, for “mischaracterizing” activism against sexual assault as bias against men.

Kahn also chastised Miltenberg, whose firm has represented clients with similar claims in the past, noting that he “regularly supports arguments with statements that mischaracterize the record.”

About the Author


Amy is Campus Safety’s Senior Editor. Prior to joining the editorial team in 2017, she worked in both events and digital marketing.

Amy’s mother, brother, sister-in-law and a handful of cousins are teachers, motivating her to learn and share as much as she can about campus security. She has a minor in education and has worked with children in several capacities, further deepening her passion for keeping students safe.

In her free time, Amy enjoys exploring the outdoors with her husband, her son and her dog.

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