United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge.
John Doe, who has completed all of the requirements to
receive his undergraduate degree from the University of
Virginia ("University"), was accused of sexually
assaulting a young woman off campus ("Jane Roe") in
April of 2017.[*] On May 1, 2019, Doe was advised
that his degree would be withheld pending final resolution of
proceedings conducted pursuant to the University's Policy
on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Forms of
Interpersonal Violence ("Title IX Policy") and the
accompanying Procedures for Reports Against Students
("Title IX Procedures"). The University has
scheduled a Review Panel Hearing for Monday, July 1, 2019, at
which Doe faces the possible penalty of expulsion.
25, 2019, Doe filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that the University has impermissibly exceeded the
jurisdictional limits of its Title IX Policy and Procedures
and deprived him of due process. That same day, Doe filed a
motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary
injunction. The court held a hearing on the motion via
teleconference on June 27, 2019. For the following reasons,
the plaintiffs motion will be granted in part.
Title IX Policy and Procedures
University's Title IX Policy "prohibits specific
forms of behavior that violate Title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"); Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"); and/or the
Virginia Human Rights Act," including "Sexual
Assault" and "Sexual or Gender-Based
Harassment," which are collectively referred to as
"Prohibited Conduct." Title IX Policy 2, Dkt. No.
3-2. The Policy "applies to Students who are registered
or enrolled for creditor non-credit-bearing coursework
("Students"); University employees . . .
("Employees"); and contractors, vendors, visitors,
guests or other third parties ("Third Parties").
Id. The Policy further provides, in pertinent part,
This policy pertains to acts of Prohibited Conduct committed
by or against Students, Employees and Third Parties when:
(1) the conduct occurs on University Grounds or other
property owned or controlled by the University;
(2) the conduct occurs in the context of a University
employment or education program or activity, including, but
not limited to, University-sponsored study abroad, research,
on-line, or internship programs; or
(3) the conduct occurs outside the context of a University
employment or education program or activity, but has
continuing adverse effects on or creates a hostile
environment for Students, Employees or Third Parties while on
University Grounds or other property owned or controlled by
the University or in any University employment or education
program or activity.
Id. at 3.
are "subject to disciplinary action, up to and including
separation from the University," if the University
determines that they committed a Prohibited Act in violation
of the Policy. Id. at 4. The Title IX Procedures
applicable to reports of Prohibited Conduct committed by
Students set forth two resolution processes: (1) a Formal
Resolution process, "which involves an investigation,
and review and sanction (if applicable) by a Review
Panel"; and (2) an Alternative Resolution process. Title
IX Procedures 11, Dkt. No. 3-3. The Formal Resolution process
was initiated in the instant case.
Formal Resolution process begins with a Notice of
Investigation issued to the complainant and the respondent.
During the investigation, both parties have the opportunity
to meet with the investigator, submit evidence, and identify
witnesses. At the conclusion of the investigation, the
investigator prepares a Draft Investigation Report, which
summarizes the information gathered and outlines the
contested and uncontested information. The complainant and
the respondent then have the opportunity to meet with the
investigator, submit additional comments and information, and
identify additional witnesses.
receipt and consideration of any additional information
submitted by the parties, the investigator prepares a Final
Investigation Report, which includes a recommendation as to
whether there is sufficient evidence to support a finding of
responsibility for a violation of the Title IX Policy. If the
respondent contests the recommended findings, the respondent
may submit a written statement explaining his reasons for
doing so. The Final Investigation report, along with any
responses from the parties, are then provided to a Review
Panel for further proceedings.
either party contests the investigator's recommended
findings, "the Review Panel will hold a Hearing to
determine (1) whether the concerns stated by the contesting
party raise substantial doubts about the thoroughness,
fairness and/or impartiality of the investigation; and, if
not (2) whether there is sufficient evidence to support the
Investigator's recommended finding(s) by a Preponderance
of the Evidence." Id. at 17. "Typically, a
Hearing will be held within fifty-five (55) calendar days
from the date of the Notice of Investigation, subject to
extension for good cause." Id. The Title IX
Procedures explain that "[t]he Hearing is an opportunity
for the parties to address the Review Panel, in person[, ]
about issues relevant to the Standard of Review to be applied
by the Review Panel." Id. At the conclusion of
the hearing, the Review Panel will "determine, by
majority vote, (1) whether the concern(s) stated by the
contesting party raise substantial doubt about the
thoroughness, fairness, and/or impartiality of the
investigation; and, if not, (2) whether there is sufficient
evidence to support the Investigator's recommended
findings(s) by a Preponderance of the Evidence."
Id. "If the Review Panel finds no cause for
substantial doubt about the thoroughness, fairness, and/or
impartiality of the investigation and affirms that there is
sufficient evidence to support a recommended finding of
responsibility by a Preponderance of the Evidence, it will
then determine, by majority vote, the appropriate sanction(s)
for the Prohibited Conduct." Id. at 19.
Available sanctions include expulsion and suspension.
Sanctions imposed by the Review Panel ...