Campus Due Process Litigation Tracker

Streno v. Shenandoah University, 278 F. Supp. 3d 924 (W.D. Va. 2017)

School type: Private
State: Virginia
Federal Circuit: Fourth
Decision primarily favorable to: University
Stage of litigation: Motion to dismiss
Keywords: Erroneous outcome, Selective enforcement, Title IX

Plaintiff, a gay man, was accused of sexual misconduct by two men in his theater program. The first complainant alleged that he was “blacked out” from alcohol consumption during an encounter in which the two men kissed and Plaintiff attempted to touch the complainant’s penis. The second complainant alleged that at a party, Plaintiff put his hand between the complainant’s legs and penetrated his anus through his clothing, something Plaintiff alleges would have been “physically impossible.” Plaintiff was expelled after a hearing at which he claims “the panel did not give appropriate weight to evidence of his innocence.”

Plaintiff brought suit alleging Title IX discrimination based on sexual orientation and sex-stereotyping, violation of 16 U.S.C. §1981, and state-law claims including breach of contract.

The court dismissed Plaintiff’s Title IX claims. As an initial matter, the court held that it was not clear that Title IX even applied to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and sex-stereotyping, but the court performed the legal analysis nonetheless and determined that Plaintiff had not plead any facts suggesting bias against gay or non-conforming students.

The court also dismissed Plaintiff’s §1981 claim, holding that §1981 only deals with issues of racial and ethnic discrimination, neither of which Plaintiff was alleging.

The court declined to exercise jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s remaining state-law claims.