Campus judiciaries for students accused of sexual assault are often unjust

A University of North Dakota student faced sexual assault allegations after a January 2010 incident. According to a U.S. News report, law enforcement refused to bring charges against the young man and instead charged the person’s accuser with filing a false report. Despite the findings of the law enforcement’s investigation, the school’s tribunal suspended the young man and handed down a three-year ban from the campus. The student repeatedly requested that the university review its decision, which it finally did after a year and a half and determined that their ruling was unsubstantiated.

At schools in Minnesota and across the country, students accused of committing a crime face the ruling of an often ill-equipped campus judiciary that can hand down punishments with lifelong repercussions.

How campus tribunals work

A June 2014 Lost Angeles Times report notes that more often than not, a campus judiciary uses just one investigator who looks into the complaint. Then, unlike a criminal trial, a panel of people determines the fate of the person accused of sexual assault often based solely on a preponderance of evidence as opposed to clear and convincing proof.

To complicate matters, The Witherspoon Institute reports that many universities, such as Columbia University, Duke University and Stanford University, broadly define sexual assault to include generalities such as sex after the consumption of alcohol. The Los Angeles Times report points out that a number of the young men who were suspended or expelled after campus judiciaries at these universities found them guilty of assault are now filing suit. The students claim that their rights to a fair hearing were violated. In one instance, a young man faced a panel of three people who were all friends of the accuser’s father.

Serious consequences

When a college finds a student guilty of sexual assault or misconduct, the resulting punishments can have lasting effects that include the following:

  • Expulsion from school
  • Banishment from campus
  • A tarnished reputation

Perhaps the most serious consequence is that a student’s permanent record will reflect that he or she was found guilty of sexual assault. That can limit someone’s opportunities for housing, education and employment. Without a fair hearing, students lack the opportunity to properly defend themselves and protect their futures.

Someone who is accused of a crime as serious as a sexual misconduct deserves the right to due process. Campus judiciaries often lack the expertise to determine someone’s guilt and deliver punishments that should be reserved for those who are convicted of criminal charges. Anyone with questions regarding sexual assault on college campuses should consult with a defense attorney.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
Social media can have legal implications, particularly when it comes to criminal cases. Since its advent, social media has become a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As of 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share thoughts, experiences, and moments from their lives. However, in this digital age, social media activity can be used as evidence in criminal cases in Minneapolis and elsewhere.