This is how Yale investigates rape allegations

Yale University Flickr/armstrksYale University

Former Yale men’s basketball captain Jack Montague plans to sue the university after it expelled him over a sexual assault allegation, his lawyer said Monday.

That impending lawsuit raises questions about how the university investigated the allegations that led to the Yale senior’s expulsion.

“We strongly believe that the decision to expel Jack Montague was wrong, unfairly determined, arbitrary, and excessive by any rational measure,” Max Stern, Montague’s attorney, wrote in a statement obtained by Business Insider.

The evidence Yale collected during its investigation is currently unavailable as federal law prohibits the university from sharing its findings.

But the process by which Yale determined Montague should be expelled is clearly laid out by the Yale University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct (UWC) — the office tasked with investigating sexual-assault claims.

The UWC is comprised of 30 members, both Yale faculty and students, who serve one- or two-year terms on the committee.

When a claim of sexual assault is filed with the committee, a panel of five members is appointed to the particular case.

Once it is determined there’s no conflict of interest in the appointed panel adjudicating the case, the names of panel members are provided to the complainant (the person who filed the allegation) and then the respondent (the person responding to the allegation), who can object to participation of a specific panel member.

Then the
UWC chair — an appointed tenured faculty member — chooses an “impartial fact finder” who’s charged with collecting information and conducting interviews to understand the facts of the case.
Within 21 days, the fact finder must issue a report to the panel which will describe the relevant facts and circumstances and may address the credibility of witnesses but will not reach conclusions as to whether those facts and circumstances constitute a violation of University policy.”

Next, a hearing takes place where the panel interviews both the complainant and the respondent. At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel determines if a party has violated university policy and recommends a penalty.

The panel provides that information to the final decision maker in the process. For Yale College students, Dean Jonathan Holloway is the final decision maker.

Jonathan HollowayScreengrab via youtubeJonathan Holloway

Once the decision has been made, the parties involved are told the finding and an appeal can be filed within five days of the decision.

Montague’s case involved a sexual relationship with a female student that took place in the fall of 2014 on four separate occasions, according to the statement from his lawyer.

The UWC ruled that three of those instances were consensual, according to Montague’s lawyer.

However, the panel found she didn’t consent to sex on the fourth occasion. Montague and his lawyer disputed the ruling.

On February 10, 2016, the UWC ruled Montague violated university policy and recommended expulsion, according to the Yale Daily News.

Montague then filed an appeal but was denied by the university, the YDN noted.

Montague’s lawyer suggested that Yale caved to pressure from outside sources to be tougher on sexual assault on campus.

“We cannot help but think it not coincidental that the decision by Yale officials to seek expulsion of the captain of its basketball team followed by little more than a month the report of the Association of American Universities (AAU) which was highly critical of the incidence of sexual assault on the Yale campus, and the Yale President’s promise, in response, to ‘redouble our efforts,'” it read.

A spokesmen for Yale University declined to comment on Montague’s specific case, citing confidentiality and privacy for students involved in disciplinary processes. However, the spokesmen said university investigations are thorough and fair.

“The allegations are investigated by an impartial fact finder, heard by five trained members of the Yale community, and decided by the accused student’s dean,” Tom Conroy, the spokesman, told Business Insider.

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