As KC Johnson of Minding the Campus points out below, this situation is highly unusual and maybe even a first.

A First–Accused of Rape, Xavier Student Wins a Round in Federal Court

In something close to a first-of-its-kind decision (in a similar case filed against Holy Cross, the judge sided with the university; comparable cases against Vassar and St. Joe’s remain pending), U.S. District Court judge Arthur Spiegel has upheld much of the lawsuit filed by former Xavier basketball player Dez Wells against the university. A gender discrimination and libel case based on an allegation of rigged procedures against Wells will go forward.

To review the allegation: after what he claimed was an incident of consensual sexual intercourse, Wells was accused of sexual assault. In a mere 27 days from accusation to judgment, the university concluded that Wells was “responsible for rape” after a process in which Wells couldn’t cross-examine his accuser and was deemed a rapist based on a preponderance-of-evidence threshold. All this occurred while Cincinnati authorities determined that there was no basis to pursue criminal charges; prosecutor Joseph Deters deemed the Xavier process “fundamentally unfair.”

In the Wells case, “justice” was swift–and unjust. So Wells filed a federal lawsuit, claiming gender discrimination and libel, and urging the court to overturn the result of Xavier’s disciplinary tribunal, called the UCB. One advantage universities have in these sorts of proceedings is that unjustly expelled students often will shy away from filing a lawsuit, since the mere act of going to court will make public that their former school branded them a rapist. But in Wells’ case, he already had been subjected to taunting behavior from opposing crowds–including, most shamefully, from Duke students, who should know something about procedural improprieties and rape allegations–because of the highly-publicized nature in which Xavier handled the claims.