More Title IX/Sexual Assault Hijinks at the University of Texas

In December, I wrote a piece for the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, entitled “When Cronyism Met Political Correctness at the University of Texas,” on an embarrassing lawsuit against my alma mater, the University of Texas, arising from irregularities in the administration’s handling of a casual hook-up between two UT students, which predictably led to a claim of sexual assault by the regretful (or scorned) woman.

UT President Greg Fenves had intervened in the proceedings to overturn the decision of a hearing officer which ruled in favor of the man, finding that the sexual intercourse was consensual. The woman’s father just happened to be a significant UT donor. Fenves suspended the man for five semesters.

The accused man had to retain counsel, file suit, and call Fenves to testify under oath before UT came to its senses and reinstated the wrongfully-suspended student. The case generated national media attention—all of it embarrassing to Fenves and to UT.

It seems that UT did not learn from its mistake. In a story recently reported in UT’s student newspaper, The Daily Texan, UT is once again involved in a lawsuit relating to its questionable handling of a sexual assault claim arising from a drunken hook-up between two students. The man had to retain the same lawyer who was involved in the prior case, Brian Roark, to assure that he was accorded due process.

It disappoints me that “courtship” and “dating” for many college students consists of casual sexual encounters, often fueled by alcohol consumption, but that doesn’t alter the fact that consensual sex, even when intoxicated, does not constitute sexual assault. Colleges and universities have demonstrated time after time that they are ill-equipped to investigate and adjudicate such claims in a manner that comports with due process.

For this most recent episode, coming so soon after an earlier public humiliation, UT should be ashamed.

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