Rhodes Settles Sex Assault Lawsuits

August 27, 2019

Rhodes College has settled with two students who were expelled after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a fraternity party in February.

The students, known as John Doe and Joe Coe in court filings, were accused of raping a female student who was drunk and had taken multiple drugs during the Valentine’s Day party.

They were expelled and sued the private institution in Tennessee, saying their rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the federal law preventing sex discrimination on college campuses, had been violated.

Doe won a temporary injunction in June that guaranteed he not be expelled while the case was ongoing. The ruling from U.S. District Court judge John T. Fowlkes Jr. was seen as particularly significant. Fowlkes had indicated in his ruling that the private college in adjudicating the case did not follow due process standards, which is a constitutional concept that generally only applies to public institutions.

Rhodes spokesman Matt Gerien refused to discuss the settlement, writing in an email, “The case has been resolved.”

Brice Moffatt Timmons, a lawyer with the firm Black McLaren Jones Ryland & Griffee P.C., who represented Doe, also declined to discuss the settlement’s exact terms.

Timmons noted that client never sought to re-enroll in the college. Doe said in the original lawsuit that he had completed all his graduation requirements.

“I cannot comment at all on the resolution of the case beyond saying that it was resolved to my client’s satisfaction and that he is looking forward to moving on with his life and future endeavors, academic and professional,” Timmons wrote in an email.

Be the first to know.
Get our free daily newsletter.


We are retiring comments and introducing Letters to the Editor. Share your thoughts »


Opinions on Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed’s Blog U

Back to Top