A federal court in Connecticut handed the University of Connecticut a stinging rebuke yesterday, holding that the university likely violated an accused student’s due process rights when it ignored exculpatory evidence and prevented him from questioning witnesses in his sexual misconduct case. This is the second time in a week that U.S. District Judge Michael Shea has issued a temporary restraining order against UConn in a case involving students’ constitutional rights: Last week, Judge Shea barred UConn from proceeding with a disciplinary hearing against two students impermissibly being disciplined for their constitutionally protected speech.
Yesterday’s order stems from a sexual encounter between the plaintiff, John Doe, and his accuser, Jane Roe, who were both student workers at UConn’s African American Cultural Center. John and Jane connected at an off-campus party in April 2019 and ultimately ended up back at Jane’s dorm, where they had sex. John claims the sex was consensual; Jane claims it was not. Since there were no witnesses to the sexual encounter itself, this is the type of case in which the credibility of the two parties is critically important.