Suspended Student Facing Deportation, Claiming Violation Of Rights Due To Investigative Model
A Syrian man is suing Penn State, President Eric Barron, and the Director of the Office of Student Conduct, Danny Shaha, for violations to his due process after he was suspended from Penn State following an alleged sexual misconduct against a female at a fraternity party. The 21-year old, Syrian national, fourth-year architectural engineering student chose to identify as John Doe in the filing, according to The Legal Intelligencer.
According to the complaint, Doe’s accuser was at a party at his fraternity last December where she suggested having a “fivesome” and then allegedly performed oral sex on Doe and three of his fraternity brothers. The accuser’s sister informed State College Police of the incident, but after investigation they declined to press charges. The accuser then mentioned the incident to a Title IX investigator, and according to the complaint claimed that she was too intoxicated to consent to the encounter.
Doe also argued in the complaint that not actually appealing in person before the panel further oppressed his rights. The panel found Doe to be in violation of the Code of Conduct for non-consensual oral sex and sexual misconduct involving an incapacitated person and notified him of his suspension on Oct. 23. Doe filed his complaint just days after the university denied his appeal of his suspension for the alleged sexual misconduct.
“Plaintiff filed this lawsuit because Penn State’s investigative model denied him his right to due process and deprives him of his right to an education, his Penn State degree, sullies his reputation, jeopardizes his future livelihood, and creates a very real risk that he will be removed from the United States and ultimately sent back to his home country of Syria,” the complaint reads.
Due to the allegations, Doe is facing deportation back to his home country of Syria, though his family is currently located in Kuwait. Doe’s F-1 student visa allows him to travel to and stay in Kuwait with his family, but if the visa is revoked he may face returning to the dangerous unrest in Syria.
Doe blames Penn State’s investigative model for the allegations, claiming that the Title IX compliance inhibited his ability to confront his accuser about the situation or call his own witnesses forward to attest to his case. The man is claiming that this led to violations of his due process rights covered by 14th Amendment.
Under the new investigative model for sexual assault, an investigator is assigned to interview and gather information from both the accused and the victim. The investigator then combines this information with other evidence, including witness accounts, text messages, and social media posts to compile a report that is then presented to the Title IX Decision Panel for ruling.