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U-M ordered to release transcript to student accused of sex assault

A federal judge has ordered the University of Michigan to "immediately" release to a student his transcripts pending the outcome of a sexual assault investigation.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Tarnow issued the order Thursday, 10 days after the engineering student sued U-M, claiming the university is interfering with his future by placing a hold on his transcripts while it investigates claims that he sexually assaulted a female student in his dorm room last fall.

The male student denies the allegation and argues that U-M is violating his due process rights — rights the university gives other students accused of other violations on campus. His transcripts have been put on hold, even though he has been admitted to graduate school at U-M and at other schools.

At issue is a sexual encounter that occurred in the man's dorm room in November 2017, while he was a residence adviser in the dorm. According to his lawsuit, the man and a female student watched a movie and had consensual sex in his dorm room. Weeks later, after telling her that they would only be friends, he learned that she filed a sexual complaint against him, the suit states.

The complaint was filed in March, though he says he wasn't informed until April. By then, he had "successfully achieved all the university’s requirements necessary to graduate, cum laude, with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering. The cost of the degree was approximately $260,000," the suit states.

Weeks earlier, on Feb. 26, he was admitted to the University’s College of Engineering master’s degree program to begin in September.

He accepted the offer of admission, secured a research position and registered for classes. He was admitted to other graduate engineering programs as well, but everything was put on hold because of the sexual assault complaint.

In early April, the accused was issued a no-contact order, barring him from being anywhere around the female, including in the same dining hall. She later alleged that he was in the same dining hall as her, though he claims his ID-swipe records prove he wasn't there, the suit states.

There hasn't been any finding yet from U-M about whether the male student violated the school's sexual misconduct policy.

U-M has not commented on the pending suit or filed any response to the allegations. The names of the students are not in the lawsuit, which is challenging how U-M investigates sex assault complaints and argues a live hearing in front of a fact finder, "with some form of cross-examination is required."

In this case, no such live hearing is allowed.

At U-M, a student accused of any other violation of the school's conduct code would have the chance for a live hearing, but not if the student is accused of violating the sexual misconduct code. In a sexual misconduct case, a single investigator talks to both sides and witnesses, but there is no opportunity for each side to ask questions of each other.

This, the accused claims in his lawsuit, creates an environment in which U-M officials "are explicitly and implicitly biased against males accused of sexual misconduct."

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