Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker

Doe v. Rector & Visitors of the University of Virginia, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 108990 (W.D. Va. June 28, 2019)

School type: Public
State: Virginia
Federal Circuit: Fourth
Decision primarily favorable to: Student
Stage of litigation: Motion for TRO/preliminary injunction
Keywords: Due process

The court enjoined UVa from proceeding with a disciplinary hearing pending further order of the court.

The alleged assault took place at Plaintiff’s off-campus apartment with a victim who was not a member of the university community. Plaintiff alleged that UVa did not have jurisidiction to adjudicate the claim under its Title IX policy, and also that UVa violated his due process rights. Plaintiff asked the court to enjoin UVa from proceeding with the hearing pending further briefing on the jurisdictional question, because he would have no opportunity to raise jurisdictional arguments at his on-campus hearing.

The court found that Plaintiff had shown a reasonable likelihood of success on his procedural due process claim: despite having a colorable claim that the university does not have the authority to discipline him for the incident in question, the university “has not afforded him any opportunity to be heard on these threshold issues, and has confirmed that such opportunity will not be provided at the Review Panel Hearing.”

Plaintiff has also shown a likelihood of irreparable harm if the injunction is denied: the loss of educational and career opportunities, including his current job offer, which is contingent upon him obtaining his degree and providing a copy of his transcript.

The balance of harms also weighs in Plaintiff’s favor. He has completed his courses and is no longer on campus, so he does not pose a threat to anyone at UVa. Moreover, the alleged victim has no connection to the campus and would not be prejudiced by the outcome.