Student Says University Required Her to 'Prosecute' Attacker

February 26, 2015

A female student is suing the State University of New York at Stony Brook, saying that the university required her to "prosecute" and cross-examine the student she accused of assaulting her. The female student had to create exhibits, write an opening statement and pursue witness testimony, she told The Journal News. The preparation, she said, took 60 hours and the hearing lasted 5 hours. In the end, the accused student was found not responsible for sexual misconduct. The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages and a court order banning the practice of requiring sexual assault victims to "prosecute their own cases and to cross-examine and be cross-examined by their assailants."

The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights has urged colleges to not allow such a practice. Stony Brook is one of two SUNY institutions under pending Title IX investigations by the office. In October, months after the student's assault, all 64 SUNY campuses adopted a new systemwide sexual assault policy, including agreeing to use a uniform definition of consent and to provide victims with a bill of rights. The new policy does not mention whether students should be required to cross-examine their alleged attackers.

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