A Student Is Accusing UChicago Of An 'Anti-Male Bias' In New Lawsuit
By Rachel Cromidas in News on Sep 2, 2016 3:40PM
University of Chicago / Facebook
Amid a high-profile controversy at the University of Chicago over the value of trigger warnings and "intellectual safe spaces," a male student is suing the Hyde Park school on the grounds that it is not a safe space for young men.
The unnamed student has been accused of sexual assault by his peers at least twice, but the university found he was not at fault after investigating the claims through its own process for resolving on-campus disputes between students. The lawsuit, filed last week, demands $175,000 in damages against the university.
The university has come under scrutiny in recent years for its handling of sexual assault accusations among students and is being investigated by the federal government for violating Title IX. Now this student says the school has swung too far in the other direction, creating a "gender-biased, hostile environment against males, like John Doe, based in part on [the University of Chicago's] pattern and practice of investigating and disciplining male students who accept physical contact initiated by female students, retaliating against male students, and providing female students preferential treatment under its Title IX policies."
The lawsuit, which can be read in full here, details the relationships John Doe had with two unnamed women referred to as Jane Doe and Jane Roe in 2013. The lawsuit claims the relationships and his sexual activities with them were always consensual, but Jane Doe began publicly accusing him of sexual assaulting them in 2016, several years after the fact. The lawsuit excerpts a series of Tumblr blog posts written by one of his accusers in 2013 and 2014 as evidence that the relationship was in fact consensual.
Among other issues, the male student says he was harassed by the female students after one Tweeted about the alleged assault and a group of students staged a protest to boycott a student theater production he directed, and after his named was placed on "the Hyde Park List,"—a very unofficial list of University of Chicago students accused of sexual misconduct that was disseminated anonymously in 2014.
The complaint relies on some common arguments used to refute sexual assault claims women bring against men: that the women are scorned lovers trying to re-write history out of anger, and that people who believe sexual assault allegations are biased against men because of the mainstream cultural image of men as more interested in casual sex than women. The lawsuit claims one female student had a "vendetta" against him and was retaliating after being rejected, and that the university operates under “archaic assumptions that female students do not sexually assault or harass their fellow male students because females are less sexually promiscuous than men.”