The Brown student convicted of sexual assault will be allowed back on campus
A judge announced his decision today
The Brown student accused of sexually assaulting a woman on campus will be allowed to return to campus this semester, after a judge ruled in his favor.
Brown administrators found John Doe, as he is known in court documents, responsible for assaulting a female student in a storage room, and suspended him for two years.
Today Rhode Island District Court Judge William Smith has released his final decision on lifting Doe’s suspension, and decided he will be able to resume his studies at Brown.
The decision said: “Although a very close call… the court finds that certain procedures Brown employed in conducting Doe’s hearing fell outside of a student’s reasonable expectations based on the Code of Student Conduct at Brown University 2014-15… and that these procedural errors likely affected the panel’s decision in Doe’s case. Accordingly, Doe is entitled [to] a new hearing that remedies these infirmities.”
According to court documents, Judge Smith added: “It is not the court’s role to determine the facts of what happened between (Doe) and (Roe); to decide whether the court would have, in the panel’s position, found (Doe) responsible for sexual misconduct; to evaluate whether the court would have made the same judgement calls on evidence and other issues as Brown did; or to determine whether the procedure John received was optimal,” according to the court documents.
The student body will certainly feel the ruling hinders efforts to ensure the safety of the victims and properly punish the perpetrators. Indeed, the ruling comes after a high-profile campaign by Brown junior Alex Volpicello on The Tab Brown, who wrote a passionate plea for justice that resonated with students around the country.
“The judge has ruled in favor of the assailant. As it stands right now, the assailant is not on campus. If he chooses to return to campus, the most likely route would be yet a third hearing of the Title IX Council, using the old definition of consent. Essentially, the assailant has almost complete reign in deciding how he wants this to precede, without any regard for the emotional trauma of the survivor who once again has to possibly undergo another full hearing. In addition, the judge also insults the intelligence and civic awareness of us as Brown students in doing everything in our efforts to permanently remove this egregious and detestable human being from campus. Where is the justice?”
The university published a statement following the ruling:
“The court’s ruling means that John Doe remains an enrolled student at Brown. While Doe is not taking courses at Brown this semester, the judge’s decision provides him with the option to return to campus in the semesters ahead, should he choose to do so. The University will make a determination on what, if any, further action is needed should he indicate his intent to return to campus.”