Doe v. University of Southern California

USC violated common law standards of fair procedure in disciplining Doe in connection with a group sexual encounter at a fraternity party, by giving him inadequate notice of the charges against him and denying him a fair hearing.  This decision holds that USC violated common law standards of fair procedure in disciplining Doe in connection with a group sexual encounter at a fraternity party.  First, USC gave Doe inadequate notice of the charges against him–simply giving him a list of the rules he had supposedly broken without any indication of the factual basis for the charges against him.  This was particularly prejudicial because initially the focus of charges against Doe was that he had forced sex on a woman, and the lower level disciplinary board so found, but on internal appeal, the appellate board overturned that finding but sustained discipline on the entirely different ground that Doe had encouraged or at least not prevented other students from slapping the woman.  Second, USC denied Doe a fair hearing on the charges against him.  Cross-examination is not necessary, but Doe was at least entitled to know the evidence against him.  Finally, appeals board’s findings were not supported by substantial evidence.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4 (Collins, J.); April 5, 2016; 2016 WL 1321509

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