Lawsuit Alleges Cornell Deemed Student Guilty of Sexual Assault Without Investigation

AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills
AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

A student at Cornell University is suing the school over claims that administrators refused to properly investigate a sexual assault allegation made against him.

Two Cornell students, both named anonymously in the legal filing, accused each other of sexual assault as a result of the same incident. According to John Doe and his attorney, Cornell administrators failed to investigate his account of the incident, choosing instead to exclusively expose the account of the female student, Jane Doe.

John Doe’s lawsuit alleges that the university committed gender-based discrimination by exclusively investigating the claims made by Jane Doe.

The suit alleges that Cornell administrators forced John Doe to answer an improper question despite his request to speak to an attorney. The suit also accuses Cornell administrators of recording John Doe without his permission, an act which violates Cornell policy.

John Doe’a attorney, Alan Sash, provided the following comment to the online student news network, The Tab:

That law requires that Cornell promptly investigate students’ complaints of sex discrimination against staff and faculty.

Faculty and staff cannot get preferential treatment. Sex discrimination is a serious issue and Cornell needs to take it seriously.

Cornell has refused to promptly investigate our complaint, so now we have asked a judge to compel them to do so.

We sent complaints to the outgoing president and never heard from him; hopefully the new president will hear us and she will investigate the investigator once and for all.

Cornell has given us a revolving door of excuses as to why it won’t investigate our complaint. That’s unacceptable. If Cornell is serious about tackling sex discrimination, then it must investigate all complaints even if it means investigating people on their payroll.