Jia v. Univ. of Miami, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 23587 (S.D. Fla. Feb. 2019)
03/19/2019On May 2, 2014, Jia was advised that a student, Angela Cameron, filed a sexual assault complaint against him, which allegedly took place on April 11, 2014. Jia sought to file a counter complaint, but Associate Dean of Students William Lake precluded him from doing so. According to Jia, the University made several procedural errors including failure to give notice of his rights, prohibiting his use of an attorney, failure to call his witnesses, failing to question the complainant or her witnesses, and failure to institute the requested three-member panel. The University did accept written statements from Jia’s witnesses, but would not actually bring them in to testify. Jia was found guilty by the one-member panel and was suspended for one semester.
Jia alleged that the University lacked objectivity when investigating his case due to the mounting pressure against the University. Much like Lynn University II, where the plaintiff cited procedural errors and negative media attention, Jia’s Title IX claims were sustained where he alleged that the University took a strong stance against male students and engaged in procedural errors in the investigation, which adversely affected his disciplinary proceedings in favor of the female complainant.
The Court upheld portions of the defamation claim because of the statements Professor Katharine Westaway and the complainant made to the media. Both Westaway and Cameron made defamatory remarks about Plaintiff, including falsely accusing Plaintiff of causing Cameron’s back injuries. Westaway and Cameron circulated a petition to have Plaintiff expelled, spoke with Miami Local 10 News, and used social media to spread defamatory statements about Plaintiff.CATEGORY: Discrimination