Colleges pay big in lawsuits from students accused of sexual assault

Sexual assault has garnered a lot more necessary attention in the past few years, but with that attention comes conflict. While there have been more investigations into sexual assault on college campuses, those investigations and decisions have also brought lawsuits from students who believe they were wrongly accused.

Although students don’t usually win, colleges still end up paying an average of nearly $200,000 per case for the costs of hiring lawyers and paying settlements. Most lawsuits argue that the college in question violated Title IX and discriminated against the accused student because they were male.

Instead of money or other forms of compensation, many students who file suits want the college to dismiss any sanctions against them for their alleged crime like expulsion or suspension. Even minor punishments can disrupt the students’ education and alter their future.

With most investigations, though, a lack of clarity on both sides complicates the matter. Undisclosed college policies, inadequate training for investigators and murky understanding of consent creates a breeding ground for disagreement and confusion. In every case, though, colleges must be careful to conduct fair investigations for both the victim and the accused despite external influences.

To read the full article by the Chronicle of Higher Education, click here.