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CSU-Pueblo Title IX decision criticized on social media

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Photo from http://upload.wikimedia.org
Photo from http://upload.wikimedia.org

A recent Title IX decision made by Colorado State University-Pueblo has come under fire by students and community members largely due to a lengthy post circulating social media.

The statement, made by a person close to the situation, detailed the story of a student, a prominent football player and wrestler, who was stripped of his scholarship due to sexual assault allegations. In addition to his dismissal from athletics, the post said, the student was also expelled from the university.

The statement’s author claimed the student was wrongfully accused of non-consensual sex and that he was treated unfairly due to Title IX policies.

“If you are accused of sexual misconduct, harassment, or rape in college you have NO RIGHTS!” the author wrote.

The comment has been circulating social Facebook since Feb. 5, and has accumulated nearly 400 likes and shares from both students and members of the community. It was posted to the CSU-Pueblo Today’s website on Feb. 7 in the comment section of an article about Title IX.

Kaitlyn Blakey, the new Title IX director for the university, said she is not allowed to speak about the details regarding the case. However, she mentioned that CSU-Pueblo is required to investigate any accusations of sexual misconduct, and that both the complainant and the accused are given the opportunity to tell their side of the story.

But Title IX cases handled by the university are not ruled upon in the same way as sexual assault cases handled in a court of law.

According to Blakey, pursuant to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, the university is required to apply the preponderance of the evidence standard of review which determines whether an incident was more likely to have occurred than not to have occurred.

“The thing that people get tripped up on is the standard of review, which in a criminal case you must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.

Yet, according to Blakey, the university uses preponderance of the evidence, which determines whether an incident was more likely to have occurred than to not have occurred. Blakey said this is most likely the reason that there is such an uproar about the incident.

Once a decision is made, it is exceedingly difficult to get it overturned without viable proof that the case was mishandled.

The social media posts stated that the accused student did appeal, and that the appeal was not granted.

President Lesley Di Mare issued a brief, general statement regarding Title IX policies to the student body on Feb. 11. The email gave a summary about the amendment and indicated that “the university cannot and will not respond to comments or questions regarding a specific student’s Title IX matter.”

“As your President, it is my responsibility to abide by the statutory provisions of Title IX,” Di Mare said.

John Wristen, head football coach, declined to comment for this story.

 

Editor’s note: The following sections have been updated from their original versions for more clarity.

Original: The statement, made by a person close to the situation, detailed the story of a student, a prominent football player and wrestler, who was stripped of his scholarship due to sexual assault allegations. In addition to his dismissal from athletics, the student was also expelled from the university.

Clarification: Cite source for dismissal from athletics and expulsion comment as Blakey nor any other University representative made such a  statement.

Original: “The thing that people get tripped up on is the standard of review,” Blakey said. “Anyone that watches Law and Order or has heard about rape cases in the media knows that in order to prove rape you have to prove it without a reasonable doubt, and that’s the standard of review.”

Clarification: According to Blakey, pursuant to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, the university is required to apply the preponderance of the evidence standard of review which determines whether an incident was more likely to have occurred than not to have occurred.

“The thing that people get tripped up on is the standard of review, which in a criminal case you must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.