The alleged false allegations of rape against the three University of Oregon basketball players from March of 2014 has been brought back into the headlines yet again, this time by a suit Brandon Austin has filed in Lane County Circuit Court against the University of Oregon and certain University administrators for the roles they played in depriving him of constitutionally-protected interests. The lawsuit was filed by Eugene civil rights attorney Marianne Dugan.
This is not a new or unique story as the attorneys at Arnold Law are well aware of. “Our office appreciates Ms. Dugan making the University of Oregon student conduct process public,” attorney Mike Arnold, who is not associated with the Austin case, stated. “Calling it a ‘kangaroo court’ is an unjust overstatement, as nothing in the process is fair or even remotely court-like,” Arnold said.
This is not just a story that impacts the lives of the parties involved in the suit. This story highlights the egregious due process violations universities across the country, not just the University of Oregon, are committing against their students in an attempt to fulfill a politically-motivated agenda.
Universities are supposed to be a beacon of hope and enlightenment for students, promising those that matriculate there that with knowledge and education come power and the opportunity for a better future. Rather, universities have turned into places in which students face the very real possibility of being stripped of their constitutionally-protected rights and labeled a sex offender without due process of law.
The reality is that our university student conduct proceedings are being run in a way that is inconsistent with the people and nation we espouse to be.
The unpredictable and unregulated machine that is the University student conduct process kicks into high gear once one student comes forth with an allegation of sexual misconduct against another student.
The accused student is then notified that they are going to be suspended from campus immediately – thus affecting their attendance in class and possible housing and employment – unless they submit to an interrogation by an administrator from the University to convince them why they should not be immediately suspended. Yes, the burden has shifted from the government and the accuser to the accused, all without adequately informing him of the complete allegations.
In this, the accused student’s due process rights are violated from the very outset. This violation of due process continues throughout the entirety of the student conduct proceeding, up to a finding of responsibility against the accused student and through a likely unsuccessful University appeals process.
Included in these violations of due process are violations of the right to cross-examine witnesses, the right to a fair and impartial decision maker, the right to see and confront witnesses against the accused student, and the right to counsel. Accused students are even informed by the University that their attempts to defend themselves, including interviewing the accusing student, can be seen as acts of retaliation and harassment.
Without these due process protections, the accused student faces the very real possibility of an erroneous decision being made against them that then labels them as a sex offender and deprives them of future career opportunities.
Best of luck to Mr. Austin and Ms. Dugan in exposing these unjust and secret practices by the government through the University of Oregon.
Arnold Law represents clients along the Oregon Coast and throughout Western Oregon, including in Portland, Eugene, Springfield, Salem, Corvallis, Cottage Grove, Albany, Newport, Oregon City, Beaverton, Clackamas, Wilsonville, Tigard, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Coburg, Creswell, Florence, Junction City, Lowell, Veneta, Oakridge, Roseburg, Brownsville, Halsey, Harrisburg Klamath Falls, Medford, Ashland, Grants Pass, Glendale, and Bend, and in the following counties: Lane County, Multnomah County, Washington County, Clackamas County, Linn County, Douglas County, Marion County, Coos County, Lincoln County, Benton County, Deschutes County, Josephine County, Klamath County, and Jackson County.