U. of C. moves to dismiss Title IX lawsuit brought on by male student

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

The University of Chicago (U. of C.) according to court documents filed Monday, March 6, is seeking to dismiss a Title IX lawsuit that claimed that the university failed to act on what was motivated by “anti-male bias” in school policy against the plaintiff John Doe.

John Doe, a male student at U. of C., was twice accused of sexual assault by two female students and is suing the university under Title IX.

The original complaint filed on Aug. 24, 2016, sought $175,000 in damages. The amended complaint filed in February now seeks more than $1.3 million in damages: $350,000 in damages and $1 million to “deter [U. of C.] from conducting similar future conduct.”

Title IX is a law that requires male and female students to be treated equally and be provided with equal opportunities in any educational program with federal funding. Sexual harassment is prohibited by the law.

U. of C. is moving to dismiss all of the claims in the amended complaint stating in court documents that John Doe has “failed to meet the threshold requirement of alleging mistreatment on the basis of sex in connection with an education program.”

John Doe’s complaint asserted claim alleges a hostile environment, sexual harassment and discrimination, selective enforcement, negligent infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction of emotional distress and more under Title IX.

He claims that the university failed to act on what was motivated by “anti-male bias inherent in university policies as a result of U. of C. Associate Dean, Jeremy Inabinet’s own discriminatory approach against males.”

Concluding that with proper interpretation of Title IX and university policy that it “would have prevented the infliction of severe emotional distress and saved John Doe from incurring legal fees needed to correct the university’s mishandling of the matter.”

A female student labeled as “Jane Roe” first accused John Doe of sexual assault in 2014. U. of C. conducted a disciplinary hearing and exonerated John Doe in 2014 because “the preponderance of the evidence did not support the sexual assault allegation.”

According to court documents, John Doe claims the university allowed Jane Roe to continue to falsely accuse John Doe in public though they knew the claim lacked merit. Adding that U. of C. ignored John Doe’s request for protection from Jane Roe’s “malicious vendetta.”

In May of 2016, John Doe directed a University Theatre production. “Jane Doe,” who is a friend of Jane Roe posted tweets on Twitter that stated that John Doe assaulted her and others leading to a protest to interrupt the show. The demonstrators videoed the incident and posted it online.

Jane Doe accused John Doe of sexual assault in June of 2016 over an incident that occurred in 2013. According to the complaint, Jane Doe’s accusation was “undeniably false” stating that the accusation made was purely retaliation of his Title IX filing in May.

John Doe filed a formal claim against Jane Doe for sexual harassment under Title IX and a cease-and-desist order he wanted Jane Doe to stop saying that he assaulted her and post an apology. The suit filed in August sought damages from Jane Doe for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

A settlement was reached between John Doe and Jane Doe last month and was approved by Judge Edmond Chang, who is presiding over the case, last week. Terms of the settlement are not public.

John Doe’s response to the U. of C.’s motion is due next month.

t.hill@hpherald.com