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Harvard judged a student guilty of rape using an evidence standard it didnít define. A judge upheld it.
thecollegefix ^ | JUNE 23, 2020 | TROY SARGENT

Posted on 06/23/2020 8:06:03 AM PDT by MarvinStinson

He wrote for ‘Black-ish’ and ‘The Simpsons’ but won’t get his diploma

A federal judge allowed Harvard to judge an accused student guilty with an undefined evidence standard that may be less than 50 percent, dismissing his lawsuit against the university on Monday.

TV writer and former Wall Street analyst Damilare Sonoiki sued Harvard last fall to clear his name and finally receive his diploma after he was accused of sexual misconduct two days before commencement in 2013.

Despite meeting all requirements for graduation, investigators were “sufficiently persuaded” that Sonoiki was responsible for sexual misconduct. The Nigerian immigrant sued Harvard last fall to the graduating class but received an empty envelope when he walked at graduation.

U.S. District Judge Denise Casper ruled that Harvard was not obliged to use either of the two most common evidence standards in campus disciplinary proceedings, the higher “clear and convincing” or the lower “preponderance,” which is often dubbed “more likely than not.”

That means most of the evidence in Harvard’s investigation could have favored Sonoiki when it judged him guilty of sexual misconduct. The Obama administration required colleges to use preponderance in its 2011 Title IX guidance, compelling compliance from schools that used the “clear” standard, including Princeton.

As a student, Sonoiki served as the president of the university’s Black Men’s Forum and was selected by classmates to be the male “Orator” for his graduating class.

Professionally, Sonoiki worked for Goldman Sachs and left the firm to write TV episodes for Black-ish and The Simpsons. In a January interview with Robby Soave at Reason, Sonoiki said he engaged in insider training so that he’d have enough money to sue Harvard for his diploma and protect his career.

In a phone interview, Sonoiki’s lawyers Kristina Supler and Susan Stone told The College Fix they were “disappointed” with the decision. They declined to comment on whether to appeal until they had reviewed the “merits” of the ruling and spoke with Sonoiki about his options.

Harvard has not responded to phone or email queries. Criminal defense lawyer Scott Greenfield tweeted that the “upshot” of the ruling was that “there will be no relief for an innocent black male Harvard student.”

A ‘penal institution’ that is ‘enigmatic and incomprehensible to students’

Sonoiki was accused by three women and investigated in all three cases simultaneously. According to Soave, two of the accusers were white and the third was not black. (The suit claims “implicit racial bias” because there was “at most” one black man besides Sonoiki involved in the adjudication process.)

Two women filed allegations on the eve of commencement in late May, and the third followed in June. Under Harvard’s policies at the time, Sonoiki was not allowed to cross-examine witnesses and accusers at an in-person hearing. He was also not told who were the “adverse witnesses” against him.

Sonoiki filed suit six years later, arguing that he was in good standing at the time of graduation – as officials had not yet launched an investigation – and that Harvard no longer had jurisdiction after his graduation date.

The suit opened with a passage from a Harvard Crimson editorial that called the Administrative Board, which adjudicated his case, a “penal institution” that is “enigmatic and incomprehensible to students.”

The accused student denied the allegations. He claimed that the director of Harvard’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, Sarah Rankin, pressured all three complainants to accuse him, and that she used Associate Dean Jay Ellison to apply additional pressure.

Nevertheless, both Rankin and Ellison served on the so-called Ad Board and Rankin continued to personally advise the complainants during the process.

“Ann” and “Betty” both accused Sonoiki of having sex with them while they were asleep. He claimed Ann consented and was not incapacitated during their 2011 encounter after a party, and Betty agreed that several of their sexual encounters were consensual when they lived together as interns in 2012.

“Cindy” accused Sonoiki of sexually assaulting her during a “formal event” in 2013, but he maintains that she led him to the basement and consensually participated.

According to Judge Casper’s ruling, Sonoiki was interviewed over Skype, was not allowed to submit questions to witnesses, and was not allowed to attend interviews of the complainants or the witnesses.

Harvard prohibited “direct involvement and advocacy by an attorney adviser” at the time Instead, it allowed Sonoiki a representative on the Ad Board who was not to “advocate” for him, but simply to ensure that his perspective was “clearly presented.” The representative was not even required to grant him confidentiality.

The Ad Board voted to require Sonoiki to withdraw from Harvard and recommended his dismissal to the Faculty Board in November 2013, using the evidentiary standard of “sufficiently persuaded.” (The standard is not defined in Ad Board regulations.)

The student’s appeal was denied and his dismissal finalized in December 2014.

Federal judge lets Harvard use evidence standard for rape that may be under 50 percent certainty by The College Fix on Scribd

‘Harvard was not required to apply a legal standard’ of evidence

Judge Casper dismissed all four of Sonoiki’s counts: breach of contract, denial of basic fairness, breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and estoppel and reliance.

She ruled that Harvard fulfilled its contractual obligations to Sonoiki in the Harvard Student Handbook and other relevant Ad Board policies.

The university did not overreach its jurisdiction and was entitled to withhold his degree, the judge said, since the accusations made days before his graduation were unresolved. Harvard met its obligations through its procedure giving accused students a representative who acts as a “liaison” with the Ad Board.

Harvard did not owe Sonoiki the right to know witness identities or have an advocate present during the interviews, Casper ruled, citing the “express terms of the contract” in the Handbook.

As for the “sufficiently persuaded” evidence standard, “Harvard was not required to apply a legal standard” such as preponderance or clear-and-convincing “to their disciplinary process,” the judge said.

While Sonoiki claimed the evidence standard was so “insufficient and unrecognizable” that its “ambiguity rendered the contract unenforceable,” he didn’t show that the Ad Board reached an “arbitrary,” “capricious” or “bad faith” decision using the standard, according to the judge.

Journalists including Soave at Reason and Emily Yoffe at The Atlantic have highlighted anecdotal reports that nonwhite men, and especially foreign or immigrant students such as Sonoiki, are disproportionately likely to be accused of campus sexual misconduct, often by white women.

But Casper was not persuaded that the allegedly “racially monolithic” composition of the Ad Board, which numbers “approximately” 30 members, showed bias against Sonoiki as a black man.

Sonoiki’s core problem was that Harvard didn’t make him more generous promises in contractual documents, the judge suggested.

Rankin and Ellison’s allegedly compromised roles did not preclude their participation as members of the Ad Board; Sonoiki’s representative was not obligated to be confidential and the length of the process was not promised; the Ad Board was not restricted from simultaneously investigating three accusations; and Sonoiki’s claim that adjudicating bodies were not independent amounts to “speculation,” Casper said:

[T]he procedures that Harvard followed in initiating, investigating and adjudicating the complaints against Sonoiki complied with the policies and procedures enumerated in the Handbook and the ancillary contract documents.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: denisecasper; dmassachusetts; harvard; judiciary; obamajadge; obamajudge
Harvard did not owe Sonoiki the right to know witness identities or have an advocate present during the interviews, Casper ruled, citing the “express terms of the contract” in the Handbook.
1 posted on 06/23/2020 8:06:03 AM PDT by MarvinStinson
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To: MarvinStinson
Bunch of racists. They better hope Auntie Fa and BLM don't hear about this.

Also, does anybody have Auntie Fa's or BLM's phone number?

2 posted on 06/23/2020 8:10:20 AM PDT by Texas Eagle
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To: MarvinStinson

Too effin’ bad for him.
Not sure I really care.
Sleep with dogs and you get fleas.
What a $hit$how.


3 posted on 06/23/2020 8:13:40 AM PDT by Honest Nigerian
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To: MarvinStinson

Too effin’ bad for him.
Not sure I really care.
Sleep with dogs and you get fleas.
What a $hit$how.


4 posted on 06/23/2020 8:13:40 AM PDT by Honest Nigerian
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To: MarvinStinson

That’s what you get for going to Harvard.


5 posted on 06/23/2020 8:15:58 AM PDT by Renkluaf
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To: MarvinStinson

We have abandoned our children.


6 posted on 06/23/2020 8:18:49 AM PDT by E Pluribus Bellum
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To: MarvinStinson

Universities of higher learning have morphed into Propaganda Centers for the Democrats like the Lame Street Media who are engaged in a coup to unseat the President.


7 posted on 06/23/2020 8:20:45 AM PDT by antidemoncrat (uff)
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To: MarvinStinson

Nigerian Americans are apparently excluded from the new aristocracy of grievance groups. They’re much too successful and self-reliant to fit the Left’s agenda. They may even be prone to voting Republican.


8 posted on 06/23/2020 8:20:51 AM PDT by rightwingcrazy (;-,)
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To: MarvinStinson
"According to Soave, two of the accusers were white and the third was not black."

I wonder if any of them were 1/1024 Native American.

9 posted on 06/23/2020 8:21:04 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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To: MarvinStinson

One, two, three, four, five
Everybody in the car, so come on, let’s ride
To the liquor store around the corner
The boys say they want some gin and juice
But I really don’t wanna
Beer bust like I had last week
I must stay deep because talk is cheap

I like Angela, Pamela, Sandra and Rita
And as I continue you know they getting sweeter
So what can I do? I really beg you, my Lord
To me is flirting it’s just like sport, anything fly
It’s all good, let me dump it, please set in the trumpet

A little bit of Monica in my life
A little bit of Erica by my side
A little bit of Rita is all I need
A little bit of Tina is what I see
A little bit of Sandra in the sun
A little bit of Mary all night long
A little bit of Jessica, here I am
A little bit of you makes me your man


10 posted on 06/23/2020 8:23:05 AM PDT by PGR88
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To: MarvinStinson

Kangaroo court, plain and simple.


11 posted on 06/23/2020 8:29:34 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: MarvinStinson

Universities should not be judging rape. If someone thinks a rape has been committed then they should report it immediately to law enforcement. If someone has committed rape, they should have more to worry about than not getting their scrap of paper from the indoctrination daycare center. Things like iron bars, and their new husband, Bubba.


12 posted on 06/23/2020 8:51:01 AM PDT by Mr. Rabbit
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To: MarvinStinson

Denise Casper...Osama Obama appointee.


13 posted on 06/23/2020 8:51:22 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (The Rats Just Can't Get Over The Fact That They Lost A Rigged Election!)
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To: MarvinStinson

Someone needs to tell Black Lives Matter and their Pantifa (always in a bunch) friends about this travesty of justice against a black man by the elite-of-the-elite (self-anointed).
They got away with using LESS than “preponderance of the evidence”.


14 posted on 06/23/2020 9:19:02 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change with out notice.)
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To: MarvinStinson

Colleges are the full implementation of fascism.


15 posted on 06/23/2020 9:25:09 AM PDT by I want the USA back (THERE ABSOLUTELY NEEDS TO BE A DEBATE TRUMP VS BIDEN! It will be the best show ever!)
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To: MarvinStinson

Can’t help wondering what he thinks of Justice Thomas, versus what he may have thought prior, if his politics is similar to that wretched ‘university’


16 posted on 06/23/2020 12:02:09 PM PDT by BobL
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To: MarvinStinson

I’m not sure I’d go to college these days, given the contracts you sign that essentially say “if someone accuses you of something, we can ruin your life, but keep all the money you paid us”.


17 posted on 06/23/2020 1:39:11 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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