School Claims Student Accused of Title IX Violations Has No Property Interest to Trigger Due Process Rights

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Oct 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

A Wisconsin college is trying to get a court to dismiss a male student's federal lawsuit claiming the school violated his due process and equal protection rights during a Title IX case. The arguments put forward in the case, even at this early juncture, take us deep into some thorny and difficult due process concepts.

UW Oshkosh Files Motion to Dismiss Title IX Due Process Appeal

The University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh (UWO) is being sued by a male student who had been accused of raping a female student at the school.

The facts of the underlying case are par for the course in a Title IX case involving sexual misconduct between a male and a female student: Apparently, the female student invited the male to a sorority party, and the two had sex afterwards. The male says it was consensual. The female later alleged that it was not.

A Title IX investigation was triggered by the incident. The male student has claimed that the investigation, which apparently has not wrapped up, yet, has already violated his due process rights and his equal protection rights, both of which are guaranteed to him under the 14th Amendment.

The alleged sexual misconduct happened on March 16, 2019, with the girl reporting it to the school's Title IX office in mid-May. The boy files the federal lawsuit on September 11, and the school has filed its motion to dismiss on October 4.

School: No Property Rights Violated

A big part of the school's motion to dismiss the claim is that there was no due process violation because the male student had no property right that was being infringed by the Title IX investigation.

The text of the 14th Amendment says that states cannot “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” While there is little question about the “life” part, it does beg the question: What is “liberty” or “property”?

U.S. courts, including the Supreme Court, have grappled with this idea for decades, taking increasingly expansive notions of the two, particularly the notion of property. At this point, people can have a “property interest” in something almost any time they have signed a contract that entitles them to something.

In this case, that alleged property interest is the male student's education at UWO. He argues that he has a property interest in his educational rights because he signed an agreement with the school that entitles him to continued enrollment. While the school can potentially revoke that entitlement, it has to take sufficient steps to satisfy his due process rights guaranteed to him under the 14th Amendment, first.

Title IX Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento

The existence and the limits to the due process rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment are important, and also very complicated. If you have been accused of sexual misconduct or sexual assault on campus, though, they are often your best line of defense if your school is conducting a Title IX investigation against you.

Title IX defense lawyer and national Title IX advisor Joseph D. Lento can help. Contact him online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he has sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address school-related issues and concerns anywhere in the United States.


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