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Oklahoma Wesleyan Joins Lawsuit Challenging Education Dept.’s Title IX Guidance

Oklahoma Wesleyan University is joining a former University of Virginia student’s lawsuit challenging the Title IX guidance of the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, according to court documents filed Monday.

The university joins the plaintiff, identified in the lawsuit as John Doe, who was found responsible for sexual misconduct. The lawsuit asserts that the student was found responsible only because the department’s standard of proof is so low.

The suit raises objections to the department’s “Dear Colleague” letter, which states that colleges should use a “preponderance of evidence” standard when reviewing sexual-violence complaints.

“A growing number of innocent students have been trampled in the wake of these new requirements, found responsible for serious charges based often on the flimsiest of evidence,” the suit reads.

Justin Dillon, one of the lawyers representing the case sponsored by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, said that general counsels and assistant general counsels at several other colleges had told him they were cheering on the lawsuit.

“Oklahoma Wesleyan is the only school that’s willing to stand up to OCR,” Mr. Dillon said. “They’re brave enough to do this.”

In a blog post last November, Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan, ridiculed the concept of safe spaces on college campuses, saying the university was not a “safe place” but “a place to learn.”

 

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