Doe v. Baum, No. 17-2213 (6th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
During her freshman and his junior year at the University of Michigan, John and Jane met at a fraternity party, drank, danced, and eventually had sex. Two days later, Roe filed a sexual misconduct complaint, claiming that she was too drunk to consent. For three months, the school’s investigator collected evidence and interviewed John, Jane, and 23 others. John stated that Jane did not appear drunk, that she was an active participant in their sexual encounter, and that he had no reason to believe that his sexual advances were unwelcome. Jane claimed that she was drunk and told Doe “no sex” before she “flopped” onto his bed. Almost all of the male witnesses corroborated John’s story; all of the female witnesses corroborated Jane’s. The investigator concluded that the evidence supporting a finding of sexual misconduct was not more convincing than the evidence offered in opposition and recommended closing the case. The Appeals Board held closed sessions (without considering new evidence or interviewing any students), and reversed, finding Jane’s narrative “more credible” and her witnesses more persuasive. Facing possible expulsion, John agreed to withdraw from the university, 13.5 credits short of graduating. The Sixth Circuit reversed the dismissal of John’s suit against the University. If a public university has to choose between competing narratives to resolve a case, it must give the accused student an opportunity to cross-examine the accuser and adverse witnesses in the presence of a neutral fact-finder.