The University of Colorado-Boulder’s use of “trauma-informed” practices in sexual misconduct investigations are “plausible” evidence of bias against males, a federal court ruled last week.
It denied the taxpayer-funded university’s motion to dismiss Title IX and due process claims by William Norris, who was suspended and banned from campus after two disputed encounters with “Jane Doe” over a lengthy relationship.
Norris claimed the university made numerous procedural errors during its 2016 investigation of Doe’s claims from 2014 and 2015. He also faulted the Title IX officials’ backgrounds in women’s studies and public support of women’s advocacy groups, calling those a “conflict of interest” that prejudiced his investigation.
The officials’ backgrounds do not make them inherently biased, U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock said, but he found other reasons to question the fairness and impartiality of the proceeding against Norris.
The student has provided “at least some relevant information” to demonstrate that his gender-bias claims are plausible, the required standard in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Babcock said. The judge also frowned upon “the timing of the notice” of investigation given to Norris and restrictions on his ability to review the investigation file.