US Court of Appeals rules University must allow cross-examination in sexual assault cases

Friday, September 7, 2018 - 12:40pm

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the University of Michigan’s sexual assault investigation model Friday

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the University of Michigan’s sexual assault investigation model Friday Buy this photo
Alexis Rankin/Daily

According to the University Record, the sexual and gender-based misconduct umbrella policy draft addresses prohibited conduct, responsible employees, procedures for handling sexual misconduct allegations and lists confidential resources and reporting avenues.

The finalized policy will apply to students, faculty, staff and third parties on the three University campuses. The draft was created by a team of representatives from the University campuses and Michigan Medicine, which was informed by the results of an external review of existing University procedures, a study of peer institutions and federal guidance.

Student guidelines will remain consistent with the current interim resolution. The policy allows two avenues for students to take when reporting: adaptable, which is a voluntary and non-disciplinary route focused on restorative practices, and investigative, which prompts an investigation by the Office of Institutional Equity with a hearing and questioning of both parties.

This policy was put in place after a ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Doe v. Baum which mandated live, cross-examinations — though parties can opt for a remote questioning done over technology — in student sexual misconduct cases when credibility is in question and the accused party could be suspended or expelled.

The employee misconduct policy now includes identification of witnesses and a sharing of sanctions with all parties involved. Consistent with previous policy, there is no hearing in employee cases, with no avenue for the OIE finding to be appealed.

Feedback will be accepted through Nov. 22. The University is also reaching out directly to student groups.