Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker

Ayala v. Butler University, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 179806 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 19, 2018)

School type: Private
State: Indiana
Federal Circuit: Seventh
Decision primarily favorable to: University
Stage of litigation: Motion for summary judgment
Keywords: Biased statements, Title IX

University’s motion for summary judgment granted on Plaintiff’s Title IX, breach of contract, and assorted other claims.

Plaintiff and his accuser, Jane Roe, had a sexual encounter following a party, during which Roe texted several “SOS” messages to her friends and immediately after which Jane told her friends “I just got raped.” The following morning, Jane filed a complaint, and Ayala was notified that he had been named in a sexual misconduct complaint.

After interviewing the parties and witnesses, the university’s investigator concluded that there was enough evidence supporting the charges and recommended that the case move forward to a formal hearing. Ayala was notified of the hearing the week before and brought counsel with him. The grievance panel decided by a vote of 2-1 that Ayala was responsible for non-consensual sexual contact and by a vote of 3-0 that Ayala was responsible for non-consensual sexual intercourse. Ayala’s appeal was denied and he brought suit against the university.

Ayala challenged the motion for summary judgment only on the Title IX claim. Specifically, he claimed that there was a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether the investigator’s emphasis on verbal consent showed a particular bias against him and a broader gender bias against male students. Ayala cited as evidence a previous grievance hearing where a male student was similarly found responsible. The court dismissed Ayala’s claims, finding that the school showed at the most a bias against assailants, and that Ayala’s contention that there was gender bias was mere speculation.