The University System of Georgia has settled two lawsuits against Georgia Tech involving students who claimed they had been expelled without cause following false allegations of rape made by fellow students.
The first case involved a male student accused of forcing another male student to have sex with him. The student was expelled as a result of the Title IX proceedings. Under the terms of the settlement, Georgia Tech has agreed to reinstate the student and pay damages in the amount of $125,000.
The student claimed that he had consensual sex with the accuser, but that when he made it clear that he had no romantic feelings toward him, he was accused of rape. He also argued that the system had an inherent bias against homosexual men.
The second case involved a male student accused of raping a female student. Under the terms of his settlement, the school will uphold his expulsion but still allow him to graduate with a degree from Georgia Tech. The student will be prohibited from setting foot on Georgia Tech’s campus but will be allowed to finish his coursework at an accredited university outside the state system. In addition, the student’s disciplinary record will be revised to reflect his lawsuit against the university and the fact that he denied the allegations made against him.
Prior to the settlement, U.S. District Court Judge Steve Jones sealed eight months of court filings in order to protect the identity of the female accuser. Although she was not named in the proceedings, she claimed she had been subjected to harassment because of identifying information that remained in the public court records.
In both cases, the students claimed that their cases were mishandled, that the university expelled them prematurely, and that the school’s Title IX procedures were fundamentally unfair to the accused.
These lawsuits are not unique to Georgia Tech as there are many aggrieved students around the country currently involved in litigation over whether the current Title IX framework provides sufficient due process and adequately protects students against false allegations. It remains to be seen whether this wave of criticism will lead to fundamental changes in how these sexual assault allegations are handled by the schools.
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