The University of Oregon gave a rape accuser $800,000 and a full ride last year in a settlement over its “deliberate indifference” in recruiting a basketball player who had been suspended for alleged sexual misconduct by his previous university.
It’s now trying to save some money by claiming that the player she accused is legally barred from suing UO.
Brandon Austin was never charged in either alleged rape. He filed a $7.5 million lawsuit against UO alleging it violated his due process and ruined his potential NBA career by suspending him for up to 10 years.
The Register-Guard reports that the university is asking a federal judge to throw out Austin’s suit because he signed a “special choice of resolution” form that essentially made no promises as to his due-process rights:
It asserts that Austin, after hiring a lawyer, waived his chance to face his accuser and to contest a sexual misconduct allegation at a hearing conducted by a panel of students, staff and faculty.
Instead, he opted to have UO student conduct director Sandy Weintraub issue a ruling after receiving evidence at an administrative conference. UO officials agreed beforehand that Austin’s only possible sanction would be a suspension.
The university says it removed expulsion as a punishment option in part because, had a panel hearing been held, Austin’s accuser could have faced “grueling” circumstances, such as potentially being required to attend and being subjected to cross-examination.
It sounds like UO actively steered Austin to the suspension-only option precisely to spare his accuser of facing cross-examination – considered “harassment” by one of UO’s candidates for its top Title IX post – and to preempt his later litigation:
The university’s response notes that “because the rules for administrative conferences did not allow (Austin) to subpoena witnesses, receive unredacted reports or cross-examine witnesses, he had no right to these procedures at his hearing.”
h/t Daily Emerald
IMAGE: Shutterstock, University of Oregon