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We recently highlighted the great work being done by Kursat Pekgoz an exemplary human rights campaigner fighting for gender equality in American universities. Now we have news of one man represented himself in court on a Title IX.
A federal judge refused to dismiss several claims against the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth by John Harnois, who was a Ph.D. candidate in oceanography at the public university.
U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns approved four variations of Title IX claims against various university officials to move forward.
Reports are that Judge Stearns dealt properly with the former student’s argument that the university made him a whipping boy in response to “funding pressures” from the U.S. Department of Education and a “costly gender discrimination lawsuit” by a female employee:
Harnois alleges that multiple faculty members engaged in discriminatory behavior based on his gender. The university performed a frivolous Title IX investigation and spread sensitive information that has delayed his studies and caused severe emotional distress, he claims.
At a 2016 meeting, faculty members alleged that Harnois didn’t disclose all of his past criminal history when applying to the graduate program. They also claimed that undergraduate students had filed multiple complaints against Harnois, but refused to provide details before banning him from campus and launching an investigation.
Despite an admitted lack of evidence to find him guilty, the university issued a written “warning” that isolated him in his studies and demoted him to an apparently slower graduation track, the suit claims.Ethan Berman
The College Fix
John Harnois started at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (known as UMass) in September 2015 with the understanding that he was joining a master’s degree “FastTrak program” that would accept him into the Ph.D. program after completing a research proposal.
Harnois was accepted into a “prestigious bioacoustics summer program” the following spring. Duke University then recruited him for a summer internship.
On 4 May 2016, however, UMass Assistant Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Cynthia Cummings, and Assistant Vice Chancellor, Deborah Majewski, accused Harnois of “fraudulently disclosing” his criminal history in his application. Cummings threatened a Title IX investigation but would not specify any details of what Harnois was supposed to have done.
Cummings also pushed Harnois to agree in writing that his coming back to campus would be counted as trespass, offering a secrecy of his criminal history, and “excellent letters of recommendation” to matriculate elsewhere. Harnois construes this as attempted blackmail.
Meanwhile, anecdotal commentary is indicating that both Cummings and Majewski are long-time misandrists, and that Harnois may be just one of many victims.
“These allegations, collectively, if believed by a jury, are sufficient to support an inference that Harnois’s gender was a ‘motivating factor’ in the decision of UMass Dartmouth to initiate a baseless Title IX investigation”Judge Richard Stearns
The judge cited public statements by officials that may suggest they hold an “indiscriminate belief in the truth of Title IX complaints.”
Article at The College Fix here.
The 36-page civil action document may be downloaded here.