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SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

CSU-Pueblo Title IX decision criticized on social media

Photo from http://upload.wikimedia.org
Photo from http://upload.wikimedia.org

A recent Title IX decision made by Colorado State University-Pueblo has come under fire by students and community members largely due to a lengthy post circulating social media.

The statement, made by a person close to the situation, detailed the story of a student, a prominent football player and wrestler, who was stripped of his scholarship due to sexual assault allegations. In addition to his dismissal from athletics, the post said, the student was also expelled from the university.

The statement’s author claimed the student was wrongfully accused of non-consensual sex and that he was treated unfairly due to Title IX policies.

“If you are accused of sexual misconduct, harassment, or rape in college you have NO RIGHTS!” the author wrote.

The comment has been circulating social Facebook since Feb. 5, and has accumulated nearly 400 likes and shares from both students and members of the community. It was posted to the CSU-Pueblo Today’s website on Feb. 7 in the comment section of an article about Title IX.

Kaitlyn Blakey, the new Title IX director for the university, said she is not allowed to speak about the details regarding the case. However, she mentioned that CSU-Pueblo is required to investigate any accusations of sexual misconduct, and that both the complainant and the accused are given the opportunity to tell their side of the story.

But Title IX cases handled by the university are not ruled upon in the same way as sexual assault cases handled in a court of law.

According to Blakey, pursuant to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, the university is required to apply the preponderance of the evidence standard of review which determines whether an incident was more likely to have occurred than not to have occurred.

“The thing that people get tripped up on is the standard of review, which in a criminal case you must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.

Yet, according to Blakey, the university uses preponderance of the evidence, which determines whether an incident was more likely to have occurred than to not have occurred. Blakey said this is most likely the reason that there is such an uproar about the incident.

Once a decision is made, it is exceedingly difficult to get it overturned without viable proof that the case was mishandled.

The social media posts stated that the accused student did appeal, and that the appeal was not granted.

President Lesley Di Mare issued a brief, general statement regarding Title IX policies to the student body on Feb. 11. The email gave a summary about the amendment and indicated that “the university cannot and will not respond to comments or questions regarding a specific student’s Title IX matter.”

“As your President, it is my responsibility to abide by the statutory provisions of Title IX,” Di Mare said.

John Wristen, head football coach, declined to comment for this story.

 

Editor’s note: The following sections have been updated from their original versions for more clarity.

Original: The statement, made by a person close to the situation, detailed the story of a student, a prominent football player and wrestler, who was stripped of his scholarship due to sexual assault allegations. In addition to his dismissal from athletics, the student was also expelled from the university.

Clarification: Cite source for dismissal from athletics and expulsion comment as Blakey nor any other University representative made such a  statement.

Original: “The thing that people get tripped up on is the standard of review,” Blakey said. “Anyone that watches Law and Order or has heard about rape cases in the media knows that in order to prove rape you have to prove it without a reasonable doubt, and that’s the standard of review.”

Clarification: According to Blakey, pursuant to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, the university is required to apply the preponderance of the evidence standard of review which determines whether an incident was more likely to have occurred than not to have occurred.

“The thing that people get tripped up on is the standard of review, which in a criminal case you must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt,” she said.

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  • R

    RepealTitleIXApr 22, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Title IX needs to be repealed. This is a joke. If I ever have sons I will make sure they attend all boys schools since we live in a society where women like to lie about rape like it’s going out of style. I’m to the point that I honestly don’t believe any accusation of rape by any woman.
    I wish they would release the name of the woman who reported Grant Neal. Why can women anonymously accuse men and not be held accountable for it. My blood pressure is through the roof I am so pissed. I’m trying not to be a misogynist, but this society makes it really hard not to be!

    Reply
  • S

    Sarah TateApr 19, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    This is very concerning because there are TWO sides to every story. This is only presenting ONE side of the story. Let’s continue to victim blame.

    Reply
  • K

    Karen EkubanFeb 16, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Dear Mrs. Rogers,

    Thank you for clarifying and editing the original statements made by Mrs. Blakey. We appreciate her genuine interest and desire to inform us of procedures and processes that are in place at CSU/Pueblo in handling allegations of sexual misconduct and hopefully recognizing how her original statements were insulting and undermined the community of supporters for Grant Neal.

    With that being said, pursuant to the Office of Civil Rights and Title IX, the facts remain, and does not change our belief, that based on the preponderance of evidence, presented to your institutional leaders , who were in charge of reviewing these allegations and enforcing these rules, MISHANDLED this case and violated the rights of Grant Neal.

    University officials often say that since college disciplinary proceedings are “educational” rather than punitive, students in such proceedings are not entitled to procedural protections.  The law, however, is clear that protections of due process are in fact required for disciplinary hearings at public universities.
    This is the case because, as noted above, people are entitled to due process rights whenever they have what are known as “liberty” or “property” interests at stake.  Both interests are most certainly at stake in university disciplinary hearings. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that “liberty interest” are involved wherever a persons good name, honor, or integrity is at stake. When a student is found guilty of non academic misconduct, the impact can be devastating and have a profound effect on a students future for the rest of their life. (the fire.org)

    Our belief is the Title IX officer and others involved in reviewing the facts and determining if this act was more likely to have occurred than not , grossly mishandled , ignored , and discounted statements and documentation presented to them by the complainant (the alleged victim) and the accused. We believe that the proceedings were not “equitable”. Yes, they were given the opportunity to tell their stories, Grant has documentation to support his story, the accuser has stated, according to our very reliable sources and documents written and recorded, that she was not a victim of sexual misconduct and attempted to “fix” this. Where does the preponderance of evidence lie? With the accounts given by both the accuser and the accused , or in the hands of those left to investigate and determine if this act was more likely to have occurred than not?

    We are asking President DiMare to simply right this wrong and overturn this ruling. Give this young man his life back. Please understand, this is Grants only hope. Because of this , Grants dreams and aspirations of becoming a doctor and to participate in football and wrestling at the collegiate level are no longer obtainable. With this on his record, Grant can’t attend ANY university. This will follow him for the rest of his life.

    We are asking every member of the PACK, every alumni, donor , member of the board , chamber members , and every member of the community that support CSU/Pueblo, to request a review of these proceedings and demand justice for Grant.

    Mrs. Blakey and President DiMare , we are asking you to give this young man his life back. We are praying that the hearts of those who can right this wrong , be moved in Grants favor.

    Respectfully,
    Karen Ekuban

    Reply
  • M

    Miranda JonesFeb 15, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    I am going to make the prediction that this will be a case that several people lose their jobs over. As the Mother of boys, this entire process disgusts me. An institution of education should not have the right to label our children without due process. I don’t know this young man, but I am so glad that he has smart people with integrity in his corner. I will be watching this case closely and am prepared to help support this case all in any and all ways necessary. Those of us standing up are smart, educated, and unaccepting of a program that’s discriminates against one gender in the attempt to protect another. Due process was not afforded this young man and College Administrstors have no business playing court, judge, and jury.

    Reply
  • W

    William DeinesFeb 15, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Ms. Karen Ekuban explains herself and the people involved in fighting for Grant very Precisely. The political game of massaging words and handing off responsibility is unfortunately the norm with bureaucrats such as the people in bed with title IX and such as the president of P-CSU. This is called projection. That means not taking responsibility for your own actions and pushing blame onto your accusers. This also goes for the political pundits who hide behind the freedom of the press. We are not so naive anymore. This is just the same thing all over again. Only now people are not falling for it.

    BTW, most of us are parents who raised very very good young men. We know these young men and we know their character. You people see them as a number and a notch on the quota for your title IX funding. For the people who may or may not know about title IX and stories just like this, the research is easy to do and the facts are easy to find. This is not the only young man’s life turned upside down.

    William W. Deines

    Reply
  • S

    Sherrill JFeb 15, 2016 at 5:53 pm

    I must put in my thoughts into words regarding the unjust treatment of this young man.

    As a citizen of the these United States – The Rights of the accused are usually based on the idea of “innocent until proven guilty” and are a part of due process.

    In the United States, the Rights of the Accused are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights in the Constitution. More specifically, these rights are seen in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments. When a person is arrested and charged with a crime, the individual is guaranteed rights aimed at insuring that the proceedings which follow are fair.

    However, with Title IX – this young man has received NONE of the above. He has been unjustly removed from school where he was an incredible PRE-MED “A” student and removed from the athletic pursuits that brought him to CSU-Pueblo. All because of HEARSAY! The word of a 3rd party – not privy to the incident! There is NOT one piece of credible evidence to prove rape… and in fact all evidence points to his innocence.

    This issue has not quieted down – and will not! We will continue to fight for this young man who is both loved and championed by anyone who has ever had the pleasure to meet and speak with him.

    CSU-Pueblo – shame on you – you owe this man and his family apologies for your actions… and Title IX, as you interpret it, should be reevaluated.

    As an aside, I had the honor of working for one of the women who authored the original document – Title IX – back in the 70’s…I typed much of the text for her… as such I can remember no part of this “Education Amendment” speaking to the the LOSS of rights, but rather the right to EQUAL treatment under the law.

    Respectfully,
    Sherrill Jones

    Reply
  • M

    Michele C.Feb 15, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    So many important details left out of your story. Of course, Coach Wristen cannot comment, you make it sound as if he just didn’t want to.

    Reply
  • A

    Allysha M.Feb 15, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    This particular decision was made without due process. Even the alleged victim of this crime has professed the accused student’s innocence multiple times. That alone should be enough to review the decision of suspension. The evidence that this was not, in fact, a rape should be enough to overturn the decision. You have failed this student and it is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

    Reply
  • T

    TrennyFeb 15, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    This article does not state that the accuser was a 3rd party..not involved in the relationship involving 2 adults. Since when does a 3rd party get to lay out rape allegations?

    Reply
  • K

    Karen EkubanFeb 15, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Dear Mrs. Rogers,

    I’ve never seen law and order , no social media accounts, nor do I rely on the media to explain anything to me. What you fail to understand, the person who posted Grants story, as well as myself, have first hand accounts and documentation to support Grants claim that this was a consensual act as agreed and stated by the accuser herself per these documents. Yes his name is Grant Neal and he IS an exceptional student, football player, and wrestler, but more importantly a great human being who has been falsely accused of a horrible act.

    So if someone is falsely accused, its not very hard to believe that this case was not only mishandled by the institutional leaders but it must be OVERTURNED.

    It is my belief that if CSU/Pueblo used a preponderance of the evidence, which determines whether an incident was more likely to have occurred than to not have occurred, then in my opinion this case was not only mishandled but hard evidence and statements were ignored, or discounted.

    So is it a coincidence that Title IX officer Mr. Roosevelt T Wilson resigned? Im not sure, but it is worth exploring.

    I am very offended by the statements made by Mrs. Blakey implying in some way that the community and Grants supporters are “tripped” up. We understand Title IX, we also are very informed on all aspects of this case as well as many others in the United States. We are educated, business owners, doctors, lawyers, professional athletes, nurses, physical therapist, pilots, teachers, coaches, students, friends, follow teammates, community leaders. We are not “tripped” up at all. We have viable proof.

    Respectfully, Karen Ekuban

    Reply
  • J

    JimFeb 15, 2016 at 8:25 am

    As president you has a responsiblity to your students! Don’t turn your back on us! I call for you to resign!

    Reply
  • C

    Cynthia M DavisFeb 14, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    I am sure that as an employee of the University, Coach Wristen, cannot comment!

    Reply