University News

Former student sues Brown for gender-based discrimination

Male student was found responsible for sexual misconduct, suspended from campus in 2014

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, October 19, 2015

A former member of the class of 2017 has filed a lawsuit against the University for violation of due process and gender-based discrimination in a sexual misconduct hearing, according to documents from the U.S. District Court for Rhode Island.

The accused was removed from campus before the University conducted an investigation, according to an Oct. 9, 2015 court document. A University hearing then took place in November 2014 and resulted in his suspension from the University for two-and-a-half years.

The man, referred to in the documents as John Doe, was found responsible for non-consensual sexual misconduct, sexual misconduct involving penetration, violent physical force or injury and illegal possession or use of alcohol following a party at Barbour Hall on Oct. 11, 2014.

The man is being represented by Andrew Miltenberg, a litigator who has already represented students from Columbia, Vassar College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Drew University in sexual misconduct cases involving similar allegations of Title IX discrimination against men.

Title IX prohibits gender-based discrimination in education programs receiving federal funding, and it is typically used to protect women’s rights.

Miltenberg is representing a man called John Doe in two separate cases, one filed in April 2015 against the University and the other filed in October 2015 against the woman, Jane Doe of California.

In the latter case, John Doe of Texas — who attended an “elite” university in Providence — is suing Jane Doe of California for spreading false reports of sexual misconduct that have allegedly damaged his reputation and educational opportunities.

Miltenberg has so far refused to confirm that the plaintiffs in both cases are the same John Doe. But the allegations in both cases center on an Oct. 11, 2014 party in an on-campus dormitory and the details of the cases align closely.

“We feel that the complaint relates a very compelling set of facts against Brown,” Miltenberg told the Providence Journal, declining to comment further.

During the party, John Doe and Jane Doe began a friendly conversation and later started kissing, according to the Oct. 9, 2015 court document. They then went to John’s dormitory in Marcy Hall, where they had physical relations, including biting and penetration by finger. About two hours later, Jane Doe left the room and told John Doe she would see him at a party the following day.

John alleges that Jane was angry at him for not acknowledging her at the party and therefore claimed that the encounter was nonconsensual, according to the October court document.

On Oct. 18, 2014, administrators called John Doe to tell him that the University had “issued a no-contact order against him with respect to Jane Doe” due to her allegation of sexual misconduct, the Oct. 9, 2015 document reads.

John Doe was made to leave campus prior to a University investigation, according to the documents.

According to the University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Relationship and Interpersonal Violence and Stalking Policy, the University may take remedial and protective measures, “which may be temporary or permanent” and may include no-contact and no-communication orders, academic schedule modification, escort, a voluntary leave of absence, interim suspension, restrictions to on-campus activities, work-schedule modifications and “other remedies as reasonable and appropriate.”

The University’s complaint process states that if a respondent is found responsible and the sanction includes separation, the respondent “will be immediately removed from campus residentially and (depending on circumstances) either severely restricted in their movements on campus … or barred completely during the entirety of the appeal process.”

In his charges and throughout his hearing process, John Doe voiced concerns that he had faced discrimination due to his gender.

While both John and Jane Doe had been consuming alcohol as minors, only John Doe was charged with the offense, the documents read. The April document cites this fact as evidence of gender-based discrimination.

At his University hearing, John Doe was interrupted a few seconds into his statement midpoint by Jane Doe’s advisor, who requested that John Doe be “shut down” but did not provide “any justifying reason,” the April document reads.

The University declined to comment on the court documents when contacted by both the Providence Journal and The Herald.

Peter Cerilli, a lawyer who provides consultation to students at the Sarah Doyle Women’s Center, also declined to comment for this story. Title IX Program Officer Amanda Walsh could not be reached by press time.

A previous version of this article misstated that John Doe was interrupted by his advisor at his University disciplinary hearing. In fact, he was interrupted by Jane Doe’s advisor. The Herald regrets the error.



  1. So glad that John was expelled. Now I hope that he wins and gets awarded with 90% of Brown University’s endowment fund. He should sue the university president and the former deans too, personally. And, if he had not been expelled, then I hope that Jane would have sued and gotten awarded with 90% of Brown University’s endowment fund too. And, she should also sue the university president and the former deans. Let’s face it, if they are going to be uncaring and incompetent over student safety and wellness issues, people might as well have fun and get rewarded for suing them. By the way, don’t settle out of court. Go for broke.

  2. Both Jane Doe and John Doe have the same last name!! Clearly they are brother and sister, and this article is completely ignoring the elephant in the room. Incest is just plain wrong!
    (this is a joke)

  3. justastudent says:

    Good for him. There needs to be a standard for gender equality in these cases. It seems very clear that this was a false accusation for which he was not allowed to defend himself at all.

    • ShadrachSmith says:

      Under Sharia the penalty for false accusation of sexual misconduct is up to 80 lashes. Seems like the only thing Sharia got right.

  4. put an end to the hysteria says:

    I hope he wins. The hysteria surrounding these (false) accusations is astounding. He’s just another victim of this insane movement to put girls on a pedestal and claim that they could do no wrong and speak no lies. She twisted this tale, for whatever reasons, and Castillo bought it right up in her effort to further fuel the witch hunt. I hope, if anything, that this leads to Castillo getting fired.

  5. Reasonable Person says:

    80% of the reporting on this article is repeating unsubstantiated claims in the court documents. Understand the legal reason you couldn’t identify Jane Doe and ask for comment, but this article is a platform for one person to make their case against another. One thing to report this case is happening, another to describe it with vivid details that can’t be confirmed. Not great journalism…

    Another thought on this, John Doe was suspended, wants cash from the university, and wants to get into medical school. He has every reason to lie. Jane Doe was “angry at him for not acknowledging her at the party”… If incentives are truly a way to determine whether a case is true or not (they’re not) then John Doe has a lot more reasons to file a “false report.”

    One more though on why this is ridiculous…TitleIX? I’ll leave it at that.

    • ReasonablyUseless says:

      Oh please, this article is not full of ‘vivid detail’ and clearly states its descriptions come from court documents and John’s allegations.

      “If incentives are truly a way to determine whether a case is true or not (they’re not)” I’ll leave it at that.

  6. Why would you even mess with a co-ed these days when there’s Tinder? Document everything, men! The world is against you.

  7. ShadrachSmith says:

    Read Janet Halley’s article Trading the megaphone for the gavel.

    The point is that feminists have been advocates, and all sales persons exaggerate for the sake of emphases. Now those same people are in positions to make judicial decisions. And the responsibilities of a judge include a due respect for law, custom, and even the accused…which feminists don’t have…some say…so the entire Feminist Star Chamber system is now what accountants call a contingent liability.

    Who put those activists in charge of judicial decisions? Stupid people 🙂

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