College denies wrongdoing in sexual discrimination lawsuit

Chris Brindle, Junior News Editor

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Allegheny College has denied most allegations brought forth in a civil lawsuit filed against it by a student who was expelled for sexual misconduct in the spring of 2015. The former student claims Allegheny violated Title IX by discriminating against him due to his gender and seeks readmission to the college and reparations for damages.

“Allegheny has not violated any of Plaintiff’s rights or harmed him in any way. To the contrary, Allegheny at all times acted lawfully towards Plaintiff and in good faith,” states the answer to the complaint.

Allegheny has not violated any of Plaintiff’s rights or harmed him in any way. To the contrary, Allegheny at all times acted lawfully towards Plaintiff and in good faith.”

— Allegheny's response to the civil complaint

On Feb. 3, 2017, a civil action complaint was filed in the United States District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania against the college by the attorneys representing the expelled student. The student, who filed under the pseudonym John Doe, is represented by Paul Susko and Timothy George.

The complaint filed alleged, among other things, that the college had discriminated against John throughout the sexual misconduct investigation because of his male gender.

“When Allegheny subjected John to disciplinary action, it did so in an arbitrary and capricious manner, violated its own policies, procedures, and guidelines, and discriminated against him based upon his male gender,” the complaint claims.

The investigation was the result of a report submitted to Allegheny’s Title IX Coordinator at the time, Katie Pope, about an alleged sexual assault committed by John against a female student — who is referred to as Jane Doe in the complaint — in September of 2014.

That investigation resulted in John’s expulsion the following semester, which his attorneys allege “caused John to suffer damages, harms and losses, including damage to his academic future.”

The complaint requested that the Allegheny remove the findings from his academic and disciplinary record, allow him to return to the college to complete his degree and provide him with $75,000 in compensation for damages.

Allegheny filed their answer to the complaint on March 23, which denies the allegation that it discriminated against John.

The answer claims that the action taken against John by the college was based on “legitimate, nondiscriminatory, business reasons which were not pretextual,” and “on factors other than his sex and/or gender.”

The answer, filed by the counsel for college, Martha Munsch, states that Allegheny “denies that it is liable to Plaintiff and denies that Plaintiff is entitled to the relief requested in the Complaint or any relief whatsoever.”

Dean of Students Kimberly Ferguson declined to comment on the case.

George, one of John’s lawyers, also declined to comment.

“The courts frown upon lawyers commenting on cases while in litigation,” George said. “I really cannot comment moving forward.”

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