Monday, June 30, 2014

Thoughts While Photocopying My Children’s Birth Certificates

by Mary Moran

Department of Sociology and Anthropology

            I have been drafting this response to the recent dependent verification process controversy “in my head” since first seeing Michael Johnston’s brilliant and alarming email while on an extended study group in South Africa almost a month ago. Since then, other colleagues have contributed to the debate on this website, important points have been made, and serious critical perspectives have been developed. I am proud to be part of a faculty that counts Michael Johnston, Barbara Regenspan, Nina Moore, and Deborah Knuth Klenck among its members. I am not proud, at this moment, to be associated with Colgate University, an institution that is behaving, as one poster put it, “like a company devoid of human accountability.”

            As Barbara and others have mentioned, the timing of this demand for documents proving lineal and affinal legal connections comes at a curious time of the academic year. Obviously, the opportunity for directly questioning our administrators will have to wait until the first faculty meeting of 2014-15, and I encourage my colleagues, through the AAUP or some other mechanism, to plan carefully for this first available open forum. But Barbara and Debbie both also raise the questions of commitment and community, and the very real question of what has been lost over the years.

            As mentioned above, I first heard about this issue while traveling with 19 students on a three week tour of two South African cities. Our course theme was, interestingly, Movements for Social Change, and our meetings were with academics and grassroots community activists, organizing across a range of issues from service delivery disputes to environmental justice. The experience was both exhilarating and exhausting; of unquestioned value to the students and to Colgate’s goal of internationalizing and globalizing the curriculum, but it also comes at a cost. For me, it was at the expense of time with my family (including two children who had been away from home for the previous nine months), time for recovery from a full and difficult academic year (teaching a total of almost 120 students across my five courses), and time to begin re-orienting myself again toward my scholarship, including a much delayed book project. Indeed, due to the extended study, I will be receiving 19 final papers by the end of this week, and will be grading into July. Furthermore, as I discovered to my shock when it was too late to back out, our administration expects that extended study programs are to be undertaken in addition to the regular five course teaching load, and compensated at the very reduced “overload” rate. It was only after considerable push back that the policy has been changed; future faculty will now have the option, with the consent of their departments, to count the considerable work, time, and administrative labor of an extended study course as part of their regular teaching load.

            Several times, both in advance of the trip and while on it, I asked myself why I was doing this, at this stage of my career. I have been at Colgate almost 30 years, and am a full professor of anthropology. I have an ambitious research agenda, with field data that remains in high demand from an audience of practitioners and scholars. Furthermore, I have done my bit as far as travel with students goes; I am a veteran of three semester-long study groups and take 18-20 students to Washington DC for four days every spring as part of a national simulation. Why, I asked myself while negotiating close living quarters in a back-packer hostel in Durban with my 19 (admittedly wonderful and enthusiastic) students, was I putting myself through this, when I could be home with my own kids (and spouse)? The answer lies in those elusive sentiments so beautifully evoked by Barbara and Debbie; commitment and community.

            Max Weber, a favorite theorist of mine, writes of commitment as arising from embodied participation within a bureaucratic structure.  Although some contemporary scholars of “leadership” may believe that it can be produced or generated by specific policies or actions of those in power, Weber’s great insight is that commitment is an aspect of practice within a community of practitioners. Rather than worrying about who may be “cheating” or misrepresenting their family relationships,  our institution would be better served by leaders who can recognize, celebrate, and leverage the kind of commitment produced by long-term experience within a defined social system. As Barbara notes, “surely they (our administrators) know that there is plenty of research on the subject of how eroded trust literally engenders fraud because it threatens the unwritten social contract.” I, among others, would be happy to provide citations to some of this research.

            Among the voices responding on this forum and one of the most poignant is that of Jasmine Bailey, who reminds us that it is the most vulnerable members of the faculty, the young untenured, visiting, and adjunct professors, who are the most likely to have “undocumented” dependents. She challenges the more privileged among us to speak out against these policies and administrative practices which make Colgate more corporate, less human, and which “deeply threaten” our imagined social contract. Speaking for the other end of the academic life cycle, Debbie Knuth Klenck links the dependent verification scheme to recent attempts to “push” senior (and more expensive) faculty into retirement. Both are correct in noting that social location matters in how faculty are constrained in responding on this issue. As a parent of young adult children, subject to the same economic uncertainties and instabilities as our youngest colleagues and situated in the “protected” bubble of the Affordable Care Act requirements (i.e. under age 26), I cannot simply ignore the request to photocopy my children’s birth certificates. But I also cannot ignore how complying with this request impacts my commitment to a community and my willingness to continue sacrificing time from my family and scholarship.  Our leaders risk alienating committed members of the faculty, at all levels, through these policies and the tone they set for our interactions with each other.  
           


           

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We Used to Have a Sense of Community


by Deborah Knuth Klenck
Professor of English
 

June 16, 2014
 


When I returned from a scholarly conference last night, I went through four days’ worth of mail and found my notification about proving the eligibility of my husband to remain on my health-insurance policy. I anticipated the tone of the document from having read posts on the Colgate AAUP website, and the letter met the standards I expected: the word “MUST” in all-caps; the inclusion of a non-negotiable deadline (in my case, a deadline that gives me precisely fourteen business days to comply—though it’s not clear whether the documents must be delivered to The Bonadio Group by that date or if a postmark within the allotted window will suffice); and the overall sense of a veiled—or rather not-veiled—threat.
 


When I first read about the new “program” to verify that we employees were not committing fraud, I was somewhat surprised—especially because, as far as the policy extends to dependent children, collecting the data seems completely unnecessary. Everyone’s children’s birthdates are already on record because of our having filled out paperwork necessary to qualify for Colgate’s tuition benefit. How hard is it to import data from one drawer of a filing cabinet to another? Must Colgate really employ an independent entity (at what cost, one wonders?) to collect such duplicate information—if indeed it needs to be collected in the first place?
 


Previous posters have called attention to the rushing through of this new policy when the Benefits Committee has had inadequate time to discuss it, much less bring it to the floor of a Faculty Meeting, and when many faculty have left the area or even the country for the summer—quite possibly without having taken along their children’s birth certificates and their own marriage licenses and tax returns.
 


Of course, the more important objection to this hasty change in policy is not practical, but philosophical. This is not Purdue; this is a small place. We know each other—or we used to.  We used to have a sense of community, rather than a sense of mistrust and fear.
 


I have long marveled at the relative failure of Colgate’s administration to make small gestures that could improve employee morale. When I read in Human Resources’ “Open Gate” about a colleague’s milestone of 25 or 40 years of service, I wonder why there is no further celebration. Other professional milestones go similarly unnoted.  The sorts of recognition I imagine would cost the University little or nothing, and the rewards to the community in terms of simple good will could be significant.
 


Now I’m noticing not just errors of such omission, but actively offensive gestures. The tone and content of the early-retirement-incentive letter received by almost a third of the faculty earlier this year were a rather jarring example. The “one-time” “lump-sum” offer with its inflexible deadline (not only a date but a time as well, leading me to wonder why it would matter if the document agreeing to the offer were signed at 5:05 PM on the given date instead of at 4:55) had all the subtlety of a late-night commercial for a set of revolutionary new cookware. The inappropriate language was not mitigated by any expressions of gratitude for faculty service or any allusion to how hard it might be for the University ever to replace us and our efforts for the institution.  There was simply a sense that some of us needed reminding that we were somehow, by continuing to work at the advanced age of 61, overstaying our welcome. In case we hadn’t realized where the exit was, we were helpfully offered a not-particularly-friendly (nor tempting, actually, the “lump-sum” offer notwithstanding) push out the door.
 


Over recent years, I have ascribed some of these errors in “people skills” to a collective tin ear on the part of the authors—and, one must add, of the signers--of such documents. (It’s not the fault of the folks at Human Resources: they [alone] send congratulatory notes to employees who have reached milestones in years of service and get-well cards during illnesses.)
 


But lately it feels as if these gaffes cannot be inadvertent: could they be designed deliberately to discourage and depress us? I have never gone to business school, but it would seem to me that a savvy choice on the part of an administration would be to adopt a relatively positive tone towards its employees—but perhaps I’m na├»ve on that point.
 


At any rate, the increasing contrast between the communications, or absence thereof, between the administration and me and the many letters, e-mails, and social-media postings I receive from alumni, both recent students and those who graduated as many as thirty years ago, is somewhat bewildering.
 


I’ll xerox my mortgage bill and my marriage certificate later today, I suppose, and mail them in, certifying that I haven’t falsified any information, per the necessary form, but I still won’t understand how or why life at Colgate has so drastically changed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Colgate, Title IX, and the EGP

Jill Harsin
Vice President / President-elect, Colgate chapter of AAUP

As an officer of the Colgate chapter of AAUP, I believe it is important to maintain this forum as a place for the open expression of ideas and information.  The ideas expressed in individual posts, including this one, reflect the opinions of their authors, and not necessarily those of Colgate’s AAUP chapter as a whole.  The blog provides a window  on faculty thoughts about issues and can provoke useful debate.  For all these reasons, I feel compelled to write a reply to a previous post, “Civil Rights Lawsuit against Colgate.”  The subject of that post is a pending lawsuit against Colgate and its officers, brought by a student who was disciplined after being charged with an alleged assault against his girlfriend.  I was not involved in the case and have no direct knowledge of it.  [Full disclosure: I do have some EGP training, though I have never sat on a case and even suspended my membership during the past year because of other responsibilities.] 

Thus this post does not concern the particular case now going forward, but rather, more broadly, the difficult situation that these sorts of cases have always created.  Colleges and universities were additionally put on notice by the federal government three years ago.  The Obama administration’s April 4, 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter announced a new enforcement direction for Title IX, stating that, “The sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with students’ rights to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime.”  The nineteen-page letter made clear that colleges and universities were going to be held to a higher standard of accountability on this issue, and led to reforms on campuses throughout the country.  Colgate’s EGP, or Equity Grievance Panel, was created in response to this letter.  The full letter is available online:

 http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/dear_colleague_sexual_violence.pdf    

Colleges thus have a serious legal responsibility to ensure that all their students have a safe campus, even as they try to be fair in adjudicating inherently messy cases.  The result of my June 9 Google search on “colleges and sexual assault cases” turned up, in the “news” section of the search, a juxtaposition of two articles that illustrate the difficult situation facing colleges today: “More college men are fighting back against sexual misconduct cases,” from the Los Angeles Times (June 7, 2014), v. “Suspension isn’t enough: Universities are letting students off way too easy for sexual assault,” from Slate (June 2014). 

The three men “fighting back” are bringing lawsuits against Vassar, the University of Michigan, and Duke University.  Similar suits—that is, cases brought against their universities by students disciplined for committing sexual assault—have been filed against Occidental College, Columbia University, Xavier University, Swarthmore, and Delaware State, to name only a few.  The “three” are all basing their cases on alleged civil rights abuses and due process issues surrounding the procedure, as in the case against Colgate.

On the other side of the issue, the Slate article notes that students have recently filed lawsuits against Brown, Columbia, and Stanford for their alleged failure to act upon complaints of sexual assault.  The author praises Duke as “one of a few schools with a tough new policy.”  (See Duke, above, being sued by a student they expelled under this tough new policy.)  Recent open letters from women from Harvard and Williams have expressed frustration with campus policies that failed to provide remedies against those who assaulted them.  (“Dear Harvard: You Win,” The Harvard Crimson, March 31, 2014; “Williams College roiled by report of rape,” The Boston Globe, May 24, 2014.)  And early in May the Obama administration announced an inquiry into the handling of sexual assault cases on 55 (now 60) campuses, including Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Boston University, the University of Chicago, Swarthmore, the University of Southern California, and others.  The list of those under scrutiny was released by the White House as part of publicizing a “sexual assault task force aimed at pressuring schools to better comply with federal law and prevent sexual attacks” (“55 Colleges Named in Federal Inquiry into Handling of Sexual Assault Cases,” New York Times, May 2, 2014, “The Government’s New List,” Insidehighered.com, May 2, 2014, and boston.com, May 29, 2014, for the increase to 60). My thanks to the poster for including extracts from the plaintiff’s case, a case that stemmed from allegations of physical assault in the context of a relationship.  To me it is clear, even from this one-sided plaintiff’s view of the matter, that there are very different ways to interpret the actions that were taken at critical junctures—in other words, there’s another side to the story.  I would like to say that we will eventually hear the other side of the case, but we may not; lawsuits often settle, and not always equitably.  Perhaps that is a cynical view, but it reflects my own experience, some twenty years ago, when I was a part of a large group of faculty, staff, and administrators sued because of a verdict we rendered in a case of sexual assault.  Whatever happens here, it is important to remember that there are (at least) two sides to this narrative, even if we don’t ultimately hear them.

I agree wholeheartedly with the previous poster that “faculty have a role to play in efforts to address the issue of sexual assault on campus . . . while respecting the rights of both victims and accused.”  We have a responsibility to ensure fair process and a full hearing for all our students, whether accusers or accused.  We also have a responsibility to try to create a campus climate that discourages such assaults.  We’re educators; we should all try to educate our students on these matters in any way we can, and not assume that these issues are the sole responsibility of a small group of faculty, administrators, and staff grouped around the EGP. 

I also support the Equity Grievance process as an indication that we are not content to allow the assumptions and practices that have governed social life, not only here but in society as a whole, to go unchallenged. That doesn’t mean that we will always handle cases with perfect fairness.  Panels in these cases deal with retractions, obfuscations, misunderstandings, and genuinely poor memories. Our disciplinary authorities are sometimes forced to make decisions in an instant, perhaps from imperfect information, that are then put under a microscope for months.  The stark, harsh categories of right and wrong created by lawsuits conceal the ambiguities of real life.  As a faculty member who came to Colgate in 1982, I support the Equity Grievance panel as an attempt to deal with sexual violence on campus.  Undoubtedly it will go through an evolutionary process as we gain further experience with it.  But it’s the right thing to do.  It’s also the law.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Colgate For Illegal Imprisonment, Fourth & Fourteenth Amendment Violations, and Discrimination


Note: The article below was submitted, anonymously, by a Colgate member and is not necessarily representative of Colgate's AAUP chapter's position. -ed



The AAUP has made it clear in its recent publication on campus sexual assault (found at: http://www.aaup.org/report/campus-sexual-assault-suggested-policies-and-procedures ) that faculty have a role to play in efforts to address the issue of sexual assault on campus and that our voice can help guide policies that address the issue issues of sexual violence on campus while respecting the rights of both victims and accused.

This is especially true here where a new, untried harassment policy and its associated disciplinary body with hearing power over students, staff, and faculty called the Equity Grievance Panel (EGP) has already led to controversy within the university and is now the at the center of a civil rights lawsuit against Colgate and sixteen individual administration, faculty and staff members involved with the Plaintiff’s EGP process.

We are bringing this lawsuit to the faculty’s attention because we believe that the allegations of civil rights abuses it contains require explanation and action on the part of those responsible for setting our policies, and because we need to insure that such behavior will never recur. By denying the appeal of the student on behalf of whom the lawsuit was filed, which detailed the violations to his civil rights, the administration asserted that these actions constitute acceptable behavior on the part of our institution; we believe this cannot stand unchallenged.

This lawsuit also puts faculty members on notice that we can be held individually liable even if we believe we are simply following policy and procedure, if those procedures are the cause of the violation of someone’s rights. It is therefore contingent on each of us to be aware of the policies we have in place as well as their implications. We need to make decisions based on our own professional and ethical understandings and actively resist any policy or action that has the potential to violate someone’s rights.

The Lawsuit

In order to understand our concern over these issues, it is necessary to share some details of what happened to result in a civil rights suit against Colgate by an international student who was expelled through the EGP process.

The suit alleges illegal, discriminatory, inconsistent, and disproportionate behavior on the part of Colgate and its employees, the sixteen individual named Defendants. Further, the Plaintiff was subjected to a “flawed disciplinary process, rotten with bias, that failed to comport with the most basic notions of fairness.”
Excerpts taken directly from the Complaint are below [n.b.: the complaint is nearly 50 pages long so the following is abridged and redacted to remove identifying details]:

The Allegations

In the spring of 2013, a Colgate student with whom [the Plaintiff] once had a brief relationship, alleged that he had once pushed her in 2012. She claimed to be reporting the incident—a year after it happened—because of an incident from 2011 involving [the Plaintif]f and another student, [the Plaintiff’s girlfriend]. Colgate already knew about the 2011 incident and had imposed a no-contact order at the time, which the girlfriend later asked be lifted. The student’s 2013 allegations, given their timing and nature, were inherently suspicious; indeed, they were made out of jealously because [the Plaintiff] had rekindled his relationship with his girlfriend.

Colgate waited more than a month after receiving the allegations before contacting the girlfriend, at which point she made clear that she had no complaint about the Plaintiff —in fact, they were still extremely close.

Before anyone had spoken to [the Plaintiff, an administrator decided] that [the Plaintiff] would be placed on interim suspension.
[This administrator] did not disclose the fact that s/he had a conflict of interest due to a close advising relationship with [the girlfriend].
The Department of Education’s Dear Colleague Letter provides: “any real or perceived conflicts of interest between the fact-finder or decision-maker and the parties should be disclosed.”
Coercive Interrogation
[The Plaintiff] and [the girlfriend] went to the Campus Safety Office together on March 22, 2013, arriving around 2:30 p.m.
Off and on for more than six hours, [Campus Safety] aggressively questioned [the Plaintiff]. [S/he] consistently accused him of wrongdoing, used sharp, leading questions, and twisted his words. It was clear that [Campus Safety] had already made up [their] mind about the facts and was not seeking the truth. At no time [was the Plaintiff] allow[ed] to freely tell his side of things.
[The Plaintiff] was never told that he had the option not to speak with [Campus Safety] or that he had the right to seek counsel or to have a representative of his choice with him. [The Plaintiff] was not told what the allegations against him were.
Upon information and belief, before [the Plaintiff]’s interrogation, a faculty member had alerted [Colgate administration] to his/her concern that [Campus Safety] had entrapped a student during an interrogation and misrepresented what the student had said. Upon information and belief, Colgate has taken no action to prevent this from happening to other students.
At approximately 7:30 p.m., [the Plaintiff stated] that he was feeling faint and dizzy from having not eaten all day. [The Plaintiff] was not permitted to leave the room to eat.
Following the interrogation, [Campus Safety] prepared a report which misconstrued and misstated many of the things that [the Plaintiff] had said.
[The Plaintiff was] provided a letter, evidently prepared earlier in the day and before [the Plaintiff]’s interrogation, stating that he had been placed on interim suspension. The letter misstated [the student who contacted Campus Safety]’s allegations by claiming that [the Plaintiff] had “choked” her when she had made no such allegation.
[A Colgate counselor] had been called to the Campus Safety Office. S/he asked to speak with [the Plaintiff] in private at which point, s/he asked him if he was feeling suicidal or like he may harm himself. He answered no.
[The counselor] then called [three administrators] back into the room and told [the Plaintiff] to tell them what he had told him/her alone in confidence.
The False Imprisonment
Absent legal authority or justification, Colgate imprisoned [the Plaintiff] against his will for more than thirty-six hours in a dirty, cramped, basement room secured by Campus Safety Officers.
On March 22, 2013, at the Campus Safety Office, [the Plaintiff was] told that he would be held in the basement of Curtis Hall until his disciplinary hearing [scheduled for 10 day later], and that he would not be allowed to go anywhere else.
[The Plaintiff was told] that if he wanted to forego staying in the basement of Curtis Hall, he could return [home and] the University would pay for the flight.
[Two Campus Safety Officers] then escorted [the Plaintiff] to Curtis Hall where they directed him to the deserted basement and to a cramped and dirty room, which had no linens or pillows. The basement had no cellular reception and no Wi-Fi, which prevented [the Plaintiff] from communicating his whereabouts to his family or friends.
The next day, March 23, 2013, after he awoke, [the Plaintiff] realized that there was no drinking water available in the room. [The Plaintiff] asked the Campus Safety Officer guarding the door for drinking water, but no water was provided at that time.
Around 3:00 p.m., [a Professor] called the Campus Safety Office and requested that [the Plaintiff] be allowed to leave Curtis Hall and stay with him/her off campus. [The Professor’s] request was denied. S/he was later told that the request would be sent to [an administrator and was eventually approved].
Upon information and belief, other students who have been placed on interim suspension have been housed off-campus in a hotel paid for by Colgate.
After the False Imprisonment
Colgate administrators contacted [the Plaintiff]’s family and warned that he would be criminally charged if he did not return home.
Upon information and belief, on March 25, 2013, [Campus Safety] called [the girlfriend] and intimidated and pressured her to provide a written statement as soon as possible.
During the meeting with [the girlfriend], [Campus Safety] made comments that [the Plaintiff] was violent towards women due to his cultural background and nationality and questioned whether [he] would be able to overcome twenty years of “cultural grooming.”
Upon information and belief, on March 26, 2013, [the girlfriend] met with [an administrator] to express her concerns of bias influencing the outcome of [the Plaintiff]’s disciplinary process.
Upon information and belief, on March 28, 2013, [the girlfriend] met with [another administrator] to express the same concerns.
Harassment by Campus Security Officers
On March 29, 2013, [the Plaintiff] went to the Campus Security Office to review the evidence that would be used against him at the hearing.
During that time, a Campus Safety Officer intimidated and aggressively questioned [him]. He harassed [the Plaintiff] for taking too long to review each page and about the notes that he was taking.
At some point, another Campus Safety Officer joined in harassing [the Plaintiff], and told him that his time was “over.” At some point, [the Plaintiff was] told that he was “done for tonight.”
Eventually, feeling too intimidated to remain at the Campus Safety Office, [the Plaintiff] sent a text message to [a professor] to ask him/her to pick him up. [One of the Campus Safety Officers] demanded to know who [the Plaintiff] was texting.
The Hearing

The use of the Equity Grievance Process in [the Plaintiff]’s case was improper as it is intended for “complaints of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or other forms of discriminatory and bias-related harassment,” yet none of the allegations in [the Plaintiff]’s case involved such conduct.
[Campus Safety] presented the case against [the Plaintiff] based on his/her biased and incomplete investigation.
Neither [the woman who contacted Campus Safety] nor [the girlfriend] testified at the hearing.
One of the panel members asked [the Plaintiff], in sum and substance, if he believed that his religion or culture was the reason for his actions.
Upon information and belief, after the hearing ended [an administrator] made several false statements to the hearing panel, including: (i) [the Plaintiff] had been confined at Curtis Hall for his own protection because he was suicidal; (ii) there was no relationship between [the woman who contacted Campus Safety] and [the girlfriend], when in fact they had been suitemates and [she] was clearly jealous of the fact that [the Plaintiff] had rekindled his relationship with [his girlfriend]; and (iii) there were no similar cases to compare appropriate sanctions.
The Appeal
On or about April 10, 2013, [the Plaintiff] submitted a thorough appeal statement, supported by a lengthy statement from [the girlfriend].
On May 1, 2013, [the Appeal Officer] denied [the Plaintiff]’s appeal [in a] letter [that] contained numerous inaccuracies and baseless conclusions.
For instance, [the Appeal Officer] dismissed the bias in [the] investigation because it occurred before the EGP hearing, and therefore, according to [the Appeal Officer], was not a proper basis for appeal since the University’s policy allowed for consideration only of procedural errors that occurred “during the EGP hearing.” [The Appeal Officer] apparently chose to ignore the facts that: (i) [Campus Safety] was the only person who testified against [the Plaintiff] at the EGP hearing; (ii) [Campus Safety]’s biased investigation was used against [the Plaintiff] at the EGP hearing; (iii) [Campus Safety]’s inaccurate report of [the] coercive interrogation of [the Plaintiff] was, upon information and belief, provided to the hearing panel; (iv) [the girlfriend]’s initial statement, which, upon information and belief, was provided to the hearing panel, was compelled by [Campus Safety], and [she] was never told that her statement would be used as evidence at a disciplinary hearing; and (v) the subsequent statement [the girlfriend] submitted in support of [the Plaintiff]’s appeal explained the serious and pervasive bias she experienced during her meetings with [Campus Safety].
[The Appeal Officer] also claimed that the bias and errors in [the] investigation, “even if they occurred in the manner you describe,” did not constitute violations of the University’s policies or procedures.
Regarding [the Plaintiff]’s false imprisonment, [the Appeal Officer] concluded that “it does not appear that the University acted unreasonably under the circumstances.”
Regarding the failure of [an administrator] to properly disclose the conflict of interest created by his/her relationship with [the girlfriend, the Appeal Officer] acknowledged that “the University would expect an official to recuse him or herself in cases of substantiated bias or potential conflict of interest.” Yet, [the Appeal Officer] concluded that [the administrator’s] failure to recuse him/herself from the disciplinary process was not error.
[The Appeal Officer] mentioned an expulsion case which [the Appeal Officer] said was comparable. Upon information and belief, that case involved a student who had been accused of sexual assault by two different women, and both women actively pursued the charges and participated in the hearing. Accordingly, that case is not comparable.
After the Appeal
The day that [the Appeal Officer] denied [the Plaintiff]’s appeal, [administrators] contacted [the Plaintiff] and told him, untruthfully, that he must leave the country immediately because his student visa was terminated when he was expelled.
Upon information and belief, several meetings were held with Colgate faculty and administrators to discuss what had transpired with [the Plaintiff].
Upon information and belief, at one of these meetings, the President was confronted with what had happened to [the Plaintiff], and he said that he was aware of the situation. Upon information and belief, the President said, in sum and substance, “when [Campus Safety] tells me someone has the profile of an abuser, I believe [them].”
Despite the fact that [the girlfriend] admitted in both of her statements that she was responsible for physical violence against [the Plaintiff], upon information and belief, she was never disciplined.
Upon information and belief, there is a disparity in the proportion of minority male students at Colgate who are subjected to disciplinary proceedings through the EGP.

The lawsuit thereby alleges violations of the IVth and XIVth amendments of the U.S. Constitution, discrimination prohibited by Title VI of the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendment, violations of New York State Human Rights law, illegal imprisonment in violation of New York State law, negligence and breach of contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among others.

Individually-named defendants either committed the above offenses or
are accused of being aware that the student’s right to equal protection under the law was violated and had “the power to prevent it but refuse[d] or neglect[ed] to do so” in violation of 42 USC 1986, Neglect to Prevent Interference with Civil Rights. Under this federal code, every Colgate employee who participated in the student’s disciplinary process is individually liable and has been named as a Defendant in the lawsuit.  This is why it is so important for faculty to be aware of their responsibilities and legal liabilities.

Finally, we want to inform the faculty that another international student was recently placed on interim suspension and also subsequently expelled through the EGP for allegations that did not include sexual violence, once again with no complainants or witnesses against him present at the EGP hearing. As of this writing, his case is under appeal.