The public hearing in front of the University Hearing Board will take place in 163 Day Hall at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday

Sun File Photo

The public hearing in front of the University Hearing Board will take place in 163 Day Hall at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday

January 20, 2017

Judge Orders Cornell to Investigate Policy 6.4 Complaint

Print More

District Justice Eugene Faughnan ruled that Cornell’s Title IX Office must “immediately process and investigate” a student’s discrimination complaint against a Title IX investigator in his ruling released Friday afternoon.

In a victory for Attorney Alan Sash and his client “John Doe,” Sixth Judicial District Supreme Court Justice Faughnan said delaying the investigation of the discrimination complaint caused Doe to suffer “actual harm.”

Doe’s discrimination complaint alleges that Cornell’s Title IX Coordinator, Sarah Affel, was biased against him when he and another student, identified as Jane Roe, accused each other of sexual assault.

When Doe told the Title IX Office that he was filing a complaint against the investigator, he was told “Cornell would not investigate or pursue” his claim until his previous complaint was resolved.

Justice Faughnan said the decision to defer investigation of the discrimination complaint was “arbitrary and capricious and without a rational basis” and “directly contradicted” Cornell’s Policy 6.4. The legislation contains guidelines for discrimination, harassment and sexual assault and violence investigations.

In response to Cornell’s claim that delaying the investigation allowed for a faster ruling on all pending cases, Faughnan said this deferral placed Doe in a “more vulnerable position.”

The justice said forcing Doe to both pursue his own claim and defend himself “denied [him] the opportunity to have his complaint promptly investigated and adjudicated on its own merits.”

Citing Policy 6.4, Justice Faughnan also said “the more the time that lapses, the more difficult” it is to conduct a proper investigation.

In response to Cornell’s claim that it was entitled to the “interpretation of its own rules,” Justice Faughnan said there was “no provision in Policy 6.4 to defer an investigation,” adding that any such reading had no “rational basis.”

Cornell has been under pressure for its Policy 6.4 guidelines after numerous Title IX investigations were filed by the Department of Education. An increasing number of lawsuits have criticized the policy, even after it was revised in August.

  • SafetitleIXforall

    Finally someone is shining a light on the cockroaches in the Title IX office who hide under the cover of darkness of Policy 6.4. “Interpretation of its own rules” is code there for doing whatever it takes to find male Respondents responsible. This includes delaying counter claims for no real reason, not accepting evidence during an investigation which might help to clear a Respondent (or even defining what constitutes evidence), and synthesizing evidence when it suits the need. Best wishes to John Doe and his legal team. May this action help your case. As for Sarah Affel and her team of misguided anti-male activists – May this be the first step in the dismantling of the Policy 6.4 machine which is mis-administered and heavily slanted towards trying to do as much as possible to ruin the lives of young male Respondents.