Brandeis University: Refusal to Provide Due Process to Person Accused of Sex Offense

Category: Cases, Due Process
Schools: Brandeis University

David Schaer, a student accused by a fellow student of sexual misconduct, was tried in an absurd kangaroo court, denied basic standards of due process, unable to question or face his accuser, and ultimately found guilty. Schaer sued the university for violation of promised due process rights. In an important decision, Schaer v. Brandeis, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts reaffirmed the longstanding precedent that rights guaranteed to students in college handbooks have the force of contract. In addition to ruling that colleges and universities can be sued for breach of contract based on promises contained in student handbooks, the court also reaffirmed the common law principle that colleges and universities must treat students with basic fairness even in the absence of such contracts. Unfortunately, three of the five Justices who heard the case concluded that Brandeis had met its legal obligation to student David Arlen Schaer in his disciplinary hearing. The factual issue was whether Brandeis had complied with the promises made in its own student handbook.


  • Justice 101

    January 14, 2001

    Early in the morning on Valentine’s Day in 1996, Brandeis University student David Schaer says he got a call from an on again, off again girlfriend. They had both been at a party earlier in the evening and now discussed his coming over to her room to “fool around”. Later that night, after engaging in what Schaer says was consensual sex, the young woman turned away and began to cry. She then asked him to leave her room. Columbia University Columbia University in New York City is the latest battleground over campus judicial systems. The University recently set up a […]

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  • CNN Transcript

    January 14, 2001

    Transcript, originally aired January 14, 2001 ANNOUNCER: Coming up, colleges and campus crime. Are universities dispensing justice by dispensing with due process? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THOR HALVORSSEN, DIRECTOR, THE FOUNDATION FOR INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN EDUCATION, INC.: At private universities, they can set up their own systems. And many times, the universities will proudly say, “We are private. And the constitution does not apply here.” (END VIDEO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ALAN ROSE, ATTORNEY: If we had a system in which universities did not act on allegations, especially serious allegations of sexual misconduct, you would have a firestorm on campus. (END […]

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  • University Days

    December 19, 2000

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  • By the Book

    October 5, 2000

    By Harvey Silverglate in The Boston Phoenix

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  • Date Rape Case Gives Brandeis SJC Challenge

    April 30, 2000

    By Sacha Pfeiffer at The Boston Globe

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