Miltenberg: “Judge Overturns Student’s Suspension Amid Title IX Lawsuit,” The Heights


A Boston College student had his suspension for an alleged sexual misconduct incident temporarily overturned by a federal judge on Tuesday. The student, identified only as “John Doe” in court documents, filed a civil suit against the University on July 29 in which he alleged that he was deprived of a fair process during BC’s disciplinary proceedings involving him this spring. This case is unrelated to the $3 million dollar lawsuit pending against the University. This appears to be the first time a court has overturned a suspension issued by the University. The court order says that Doe should be allowed, “without limitation” to register for classes this fall. Doe will also be allowed to participate fully in all University activities. K.C. Johnson, a professor at Brooklyn College who chronicles Title IX litigation, described the wording used in the judge’s order as “unusually strong” compared to other similar injunctions. BC suspended Doe on June 18, and ruled against him on appeal on July 24 for actions that have not yet been publicly disclosed. Most records related to the case remain sealed in order to preserve the anonymity of the parties. The nature of the complaint is expected to become part of the public record in the next few weeks. “Boston College has been ordered by the US District Court to stay the suspension,” University Spokesman Jack Dunn said in an email statement to The Heights. “We are reviewing the judge’s decision and evaluating our options regarding an appeal.” The only scenarios in which Doe’s suspension can be reinstated is if he loses the suit or if BC successfully appeals the order.  The plaintiff’s defense team could not be reached for comment. Doe’s representatives belong to the firm Nesenoff and Miltenberg—Andrew Miltenberg is one of Doe’s attorneys. Miltenberg’s higher education team has filed over 60 Title IX related lawsuits—more than any other law firm, according to a May press release. In addition to this injunction, Doe has filed for a temporary restraining order. It is unclear whom the order is filed against, as that request remains sealed. That request has not yet been ruled on, according to the court docket. Presiding Judge Douglas P. Woodlock ruled that Doe’s suspension should be lifted due, in part, to the “substantial likelihood that John Doe will succeed on his claims that he was deprived of fair process” during the University’s disciplinary process. The judge wrote that Doe would suffer “irrevocable harm” if the suspension was not lifted before the fall semester began.

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