Miltenberg: “A Rock and a Hard Place: UW-Madison Weighs Whether to Readmit Quintez Cephus,” Wisconsin State Journal


Former Wisconsin Badgers wide receiver Quintez Cephus, who was expelled from the university last semester after being accused by two women of sexual assault but was acquitted of those charges by a Dane County jury earlier this month, has petitioned for readmission to the university. The decision is up to Blank, who will likely face blowback from either black community leaders or sexual assault victims and advocates … The university expelled Cephus following an investigation into the accusers’ claims conducted under federal Title IX, which is intended in part to protect students and employees from sexual harassment and sexual assault on college campuses. Cephus did not participate in an interview for the investigation because he was also facing criminal charges, his lawyers have previously said. The burden of proof is lower in student disciplinary cases — a preponderance of evidence, rather than the criminal court standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. Under this standard, the university determines whether it is more likely than not that a student violated campus rules. Andrew Miltenberg, one of Cephus’ attorneys who has represented hundreds of accused students across the country, said the case “highlights the tension” between the law enforcement investigation process and the process universities follow, particularly when different conclusions are made. Cephus had previously filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming it violated his federal civil rights by pursuing its investigation while a criminal proceeding was ongoing. The lawsuit claims that Cephus was unable to defend himself during the investigation without violating his Fifth Amendment right to silence. UW-Madison officials responded at the time the suit was filed that its investigation aligned with federal law, which it said requires universities “to conduct prompt and equitable resolution” of sexual misconduct allegations. Miltenberg declined to say whether the lawsuit would be refiled if Cephus is not readmitted, but said “all options remain on the table.” The high-profile New York attorney said he was unaware of any petition for readmission garnering this much public attention.

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