FAMILIES ADVOCATING FOR CAMPUS EQUALITY
FAMILIES ADVOCATING FOR CAMPUS EQUALITY

Occidental College

Behind every FACE, a story.

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An accused student in a “drunken hook up” expelled despite the fact the parties were equally responsible: 

 

The nightmare began when the phone rang late one night in 2013...”Don’t worry Mom, I’m fine but I’ve been taken out of my dorm room and moved elsewhere.... A girl and I had sex a few weeks ago ... she filed a complaint against me....She agreed to have sex, I have it in writing... I don’t know why she filed... Also Mom, I’m on suicide watch.”

My son was a freshman at Occidental College and had been on campus for two weeks. He had been immediately ushered out of his safety zone, and placed in a solitary room on the edge of campus and bullied by Occidental College to remain in that room. He could leave only to attend class, attend sports practice, and to eat in one spot on campus. This is what a $60,000.00 per year tuition offered for my son. He was presumed guilty before any hearing took place, before the facts could be presented.

I learned over the next four months, that the college would do nothing to help my son through their Kafkaesque college investigation and hearing process; and the college would do everything to help the accuser in all ways, at all times. When we asked to see what the charges were, or asked other pertinent questions we were met with no comment, or you have to figure that out for yourself. Occidental demanded that my son find an advocate to sit with him, but they wouldn’t help him find an advocate. Occidental wanted their investigators to interview my son, but they wouldn’t allow a lawyer present. We repeatedly asked to see the complaint, and were met with silence.

I assumed that Occidental would do the right thing, act in a fair and impartial manner. I actually believed the authorities would look at the facts. Such as texting evidence of the two agreeing to meet and have sex, and the police report determining that no misconduct occurred. But I was naïve. I didn’t know that the college had pre-determined my son guilty, right at the moment the girl made her accusation.

The crux of everything comes down to Federal funding dollars, and the threats placed on colleges by the Office of Civil Rights. So it really didn’t matter that a criminal investigation cleared my son, or that the police looked at the evidence and didn’t press charges or that witnesses offered to testify for my son. It didn’t matter what evidence my son had, because the adjudicator would find my son responsible so the college wouldn’t lose its OCR Federal funding. The adjudicator refused to allow my son’s evidence into the college hearing. The adjudicator repeatedly cut my son’s testimony short, or would stop him from speaking about the facts. And the adjudicator would speak sweetly to the girl in whispers, with gentle leading questions. At the college hearing the girl had a support staff around her, keeping her upright, and holding her hand. There was nothing for my son. No other male was present in the hearing room, and he sat on a cold hard seat with vicious arrows of verbal accusations pummeled at him. He was not in a safe zone, he was in a harassment zone. The daylong hearing was a farce, with no lawyers present during the college hearing. My son was in enemy territory, and treated as such with few rights.

  • My son was denied his due process rights. (14th Amendment to the US Constitution)

  • My son didn’t have the right to a participating attorney.

  • My son didn’t have the right to review the evidence.

  • My son didn’t have the right to question witnesses.

  • My son didn’t have the right to refute the girl’s selective memory with witness testimony.

  • My son didn’t have the right to remain silent. (5th Amendment to the US Constitution)

  • My son didn’t have the right to submit the police report into evidence proving his innocence.

  • My son was not afforded the right to a fair and impartial hearing.

These are horrific college hearings that are shrouded in secrecy. A week after this sham hearing, my son was found responsible for sexual misconduct. His education and mental health has faltered tremendously because of Occidental’s out of control zealousness and this false accusation. Today we continue to be in legal proceedings. 


 

Read more:

The mother of an accused student with disabilities

The mother of an accused student who experienced a result-driven disciplinary process