U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Male student athlete John Doe (pseudonym) was expelled from Loyola University of Chicago after being accused of sexual assault by a female student athlete, Jane Doe (also a pseudonym). When John sued Loyola over the circumstances of his expulsion, several alarming facts came to light, including several violations of John’s due process rights throughout the school’s investigation, hearing, and appeal. John also found significant evidence that Loyola, and particularly Loyola’s Deputy Title IX coordinator in charge of his case, were under significant pressure from groups on and off campus to come down hard on male students accused of sexual assault. When viewed together, they are suspicious enough to leave open a genuine factual dispute over whether Loyola was illegally biased in favor of female accusers and against the male accused. But rather than let those disputes be resolved by a jury at trial, the district court ruled in favor of Loyola and ended John’s case.
Unfortunately, FIRE’s work proves that procedural errors like these are far too common. Lawsuits like John’s are one of the only ways to hold schools accountable when they trample over the statutory and constitutional rights of students accused of sexual assault. That’s why FIRE filed an amicus brief on John’s behalf with the Seventh Circuit, asking the court to let John’s claims go to trial. Because unless student plaintiffs like John are allowed to actually prove their sex discrimination case to a jury, no college or university will ever be held accountable.