By Madalyn Harper
It’s an all too common scene: a crazy off-campus party, gratuitous amounts of alcohol, and hormones spilling all over the place. College life was relatively the same for John Doe, as it was for any young Washington and Lee University-goer. He went to a party, met a pretty girl, and engaged in sexual activities with a girl that she would later describe to a friend as “a good time.”
But all that would change.
According to John Doe, CollegeFix reports that before the encounter occurred, the plaintiff recalled saying “I usually don’t have sex with someone I meet on the first night, but you are a really interesting guy.”
The very next morning, John Doe’s roommate claims “he woke up to hear them talking and the ‘tone of voices was normal and nothing indicated to [him] that anything strange had occurred between them,’ he recollects he ‘got a positive vibe from [plaintiff] about the encounter’ afterward.”
Shortly after the encounter, John Doe and the plaintiff became connected via social media- even texting back and forth, including responding to one of his texts claiming she agreed they had a pretty good connection. Following these events they reportedly continued meeting at social events, and reportedly had intercourse for a second time.
It was during a St. Patrick’s day party that things turned for the worse. According to the ruling, Jane Doe saw John Doe kissing another girl at the party and reportedly “left the party early, upset.”
Eight months after the initial incident, the ruling states Jane Doe reported to the universities Title IX officer that she had been a victim of nonconsensual relations with the plaintiff.
According to John Doe, Jane Doe’s claim of ‘grey rape’ came after Lauren Kozak, the universities Title XI officer, made somewhat controversial statements about rape during a campus talk. Kozak discussed this article entitled “Is it Possible That There Is Something In Between Consensual Sex And Rape . . . And That It Happens To Almost Every Girl Out There?” Expressing that regret over a sexual encounter equals rape, the judge’s ruling states.
According to an article entitled “A New Kind of Date Rape,” in the September issue of women’s magazine, Cosmopolitan, ‘grey-rape’ is described as “sex that falls somewhere between consent and denial and is even more confusing than date rape because often both parties are unsure of who wanted what.”
The Charlottesville-based The Daily Progress reports that Kozak denies ever advancing such a view on students.
On August 5th, U.S District Judge Norman K. Moon ruled in favor of setting a trial date, November 16th, and that John Doe had successfully cast doubt on the authenticity of the accusations set upon him after campus proceedings.
John Doe filed his lawsuit last December, stating the university subjected him to disciplinary proceedings “in an arbitrary and capricious way, and in discrimination against him on the basis of his male sex.” He accuses the university of gender bias: claiming he was denied legal counsel and representation during the course of the schools inquiry, that his case was rushed and mismanaged before the Student Faculty Hearing Board, and that Jane Doe was influenced by Lauren Kozak.
In the summer of 2014, Jane Doe spent time working at a woman’s clinic meant to help sexual assault victims. This was the first time Jane Doe began to mention to the staff about her sexual encounter with the plaintiff.
“In July 2014, Jane Doe told a friend that she had been sexually assaulted,” the judge’s memorandum states. “Around the same time, Jane Doe applied to be a peer counselor at W&L. In a section of her application labeled ‘life experiences or personal anecdotes you have that you think may help make you qualified to be a peer counselor’ she presented experience and research done in connection with ‘grey rape,’ stating that she had performed a ‘Google search’ and found ‘grey rape’ and that she was happy to know that there was ‘some tangible definition’ for what she claimed to have experienced. She presented her desire to ‘voice [her] story.’”
John Doe is suing the university for monetary damages, for his disciplinary record to be expunged, and to be reinstated as a student at the university.
Brian Eckert, the executive director of communications and public affairs at W&L, told The Daily Progress that “We remain confident that we correctly followed our university policies and procedures that have been developed to be consistent with federal mandates.”
“That John was able to continue with a discrimination claim may affect future cases (although it is not guaranteed that he will ultimately win this case or that W&L won’t choose to settle instead),” she said, also noting, that it wasn’t all good news for John, “His two other claims — break of contract and lack of due process — were dismissed by Moon.”
With at least 77 lawsuits nationwide similar to the one filed against W&L that claim campus disciplinary systems are biased or otherwise flawed, according to A Voice for Male Students, we hope this sets a new precedence of justice and fairness being served instead of more repeats of the now infamous Rolling Stone article, “A Rape on Campus.”