Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker

Doe v. University of Oregon, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 49431 (D. Or. Mar. 26, 2018)

School type: Public
State: Oregon
Federal Circuit: Ninth
Decision primarily favorable to: Student
Stage of litigation: Motion to dismiss
Keywords: Due process, Title IX

Defendants’ motion to dismiss was granted in part and denied in part.

Plaintiff was suspended for one year after he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a fellow student, Jane Roe. Plaintiff and Roe had dated but stopped having a sexual relationship when Plaintiff wanted something more serious and Roe did not. Several months later, Roe asked Plaintiff to help her when she was very drunk and afraid that, if left alone, she might inhale her own vomit while she slept. Plaintiff walked Roe back to his room and, according to his account, slept in his own bed while Roe slept in his roommate’s bed. Roe claims that Plaintiff had nonconsensual sexual contact with her while she was sleeping; Plaintiff denies there was any sexual contact at all. His suit alleges violations of Title IX and the due process and equal protection clauses, and also alleges various state-law claims including breach of contract.

During the investigation, the university “repeatedly explained away inconsistencies in Roe’s account, while simultaneously ignoring evidence tending to corroborate Plaintiff’s version of events.” Roe’s account of events changed several times and her testimony contradicted the available evidence.

Plaintiff’s Title IX and Equal Protection claims survived defendants’ motion to dismiss “[b]ecause the allegations in the complaint support a plausible inference of gender bias” and Plaintiff would need the discovery process to have access to more evidence.

On Plaintiff’s due process claim, the court agreed that he had a protected property interest in continued enrollment, but held that the property interest was not clearly established, and thus granted qualified immunity to the defendant administrators.

Plaintiff also brought other state law claims, which were dismissed.