Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker

Doe v. Director, Miami University Office of Community Standards, No. 1:19-cv-00136 (N.D. Ohio Apr. 1, 2019)

School type: Public
State: Ohio
Federal Circuit: Sixth
Decision primarily favorable to: University
Stage of litigation: Motion for TRO/preliminary injunction
Keywords: Due process

The court denied Plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, because although he has liberty and property interests in his continued education, he has not shown that he risks being deprived of those interests without appropriate process. Because he is facing criminal proceedings stemming from the same underlying conduct, Plaintiff claimed that in order to protect his right against self-incrimination, the university should delay its hearing until the criminal proceedings conclude.

While “not unsympathetic to the dilemma that Doe faces,” the court held that a stay of proceedings was not necessary to protect his due process rights: “This Court is unaware of any cases within the Sixth Circuit in which a student facing simultaneous school disciplinary hearings and criminal investigations sought to have the disciplinary hearings stayed until the criminal investigation concluded. Yet numerous courts presented with circumstances where school disciplinary hearings were conducted concurrently with criminal investigations have found the disciplinary hearings to provide adequate due process.”

The court ultimately held that: “Miami University has established extensive procedures to protect the due process rights of students accused of sexual assault. (See Sexual Assault Misconduct Policy). Doe is permitted to introduce documentary evidence, call exculpatory witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, and have an attorney present. He is not faced with a situation where he will be suspended or expelled if he does not offer a statement, so his testimony is not compelled. If Doe chooses to testify at the hearing, he can choose to answer questions or not answer questions as he sees fit, with assistance of his counsel. He is not being forced to provide self-incriminating testimony. Importantly, Defendants have stipulated that it will not hold Plaintiff’s silence against him. The Court finds that Doe’s procedural due process rights are adequately protected by the procedures established by Miami University.”