DOE v. UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN INDIANA
ENTRY DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION - John Doe has failed to satisfy either of the threshold requirements for injunctive relief, therefore the Court need not balance the hardship between the parties or determine the publi c interest. For the foregoing reasons, John Doe's Supplemental Motion to Supplement Preliminary Injunction Evidentiary Submission 117 and Second Motion to Supplement Preliminary Injunction Evidentiary Submission 127 are GRANTED but his Motion for Preliminary Injunction 33 is DENIED. SEE ORDER. Signed by Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on 5/10/2022. (JRB)
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN INDIANA,
Case No. 3:21-cv-00144-TWP-MPB
ENTRY DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION
This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 by Plaintiff John Doe ("John") (Filing No. 33). John initiated
this lawsuit against Defendant University of Southern Indiana ("USI") after USI imposed a
suspension after finding him responsible for a conduct violation through USI's Title IX grievance
process. (Filing No. 27.) For the following reasons, the Court denies the Motion for injunctive
I. LEGAL STANDARD
"A preliminary injunction is an extraordinary remedy never awarded as of right." Winter
v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 555 U.S. 7, 24 (2008). "In each case, courts must
balance the competing claims of injury and must consider the effect on each party of the granting
or withholding of the requested relief." Id. (citation and quotation marks omitted). Granting a
preliminary injunction is "an exercise of a very far-reaching power, never to be indulged in except
in a case clearly demanding it." Roland Mach. Co. v. Dresser Indus., Inc., 749 F.2d 380. 389 (7th
Cir. 1984) (citation and quotation marks omitted).
To obtain a preliminary injunction, a plaintiff must establish that it has some
likelihood of success on the merits; that without relief it will suffer irreparable
harm. If the plaintiff fails to meet any of these threshold requirements, the court
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must deny the injunction. However, if the plaintiff passes that threshold, the court
must weigh the harm that the plaintiff will suffer absent an injunction against the
harm to the defendant from an injunction, and consider whether an injunction is in
the public interest.
Geft Outdoors, LLC v. City of Westfield, 922 F.3d 357, 364 (7th Cir. 2019) (citations and quotation
marks omitted). Courts in the Seventh Circuit employ a sliding scale approach where the greater
the likelihood of success, the less harm the moving party needs to show to obtain an injunction,
and vice versa. Girl Scouts of Manitou Council, Inc. v. Girl Scouts of the United States of America,
Inc., 549 F.3d 1079, 1086 (7th Cir. 2008).
John is a nineteen-year-old male, who is currently a sophomore at USI. (Filing No. 51 at
1-2.) He is majoring in Business Administration and is currently receiving academic and athletic
scholarships. Id. at 2. During the fall 2020 semester, John met a female, Jane Doe ("Jane"), who
was also a freshman student. (Filing No. 58 at 3-4.) The two became "best friends" during their
freshmen year, spending significant time together and communicating frequently. John and Jane
lived in separate dormitories that were located right next to each other. Id. at 4.
The evening of November 13, 2020, and the morning of November 14, 2020, John, Jane,
Jane's roommate, two suitemates, and a few other friends were hanging out and drinking. (Filing
No. 58 at 4.) Jane was one of the people drinking but John maintains that he did not drink that
evening. Id. Most of the drinking and socializing took place in Jane's residence hall, specifically
the common room she shared with her suitemates. Id. On that night, John, Jane, and the others
gathered at Jane's on-campus apartment, frequented a Taco Bell located off-campus, and then
returned to Jane's residence hall where the socializing and drinking continued. Id. John alleges
that when the group returned to campus from Taco Bell, he went back to his residence hall alone.
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Id. Around 2:00 a.m. on November 14, 2020, John received a Snapchat message from Jane asking
him to come up to her dorm room and he complied. Id.
At some point after returning to Jane's apartment, Jane alleges that John joined her in her
bed and proceeded to touch her breasts and finger her vagina without her consent. Id. John denies
that he was ever in Jane's bed with her on November 14, 2020, and he denies any sexual touching
on that date. Id. at 5. John does not dispute Jane's level of intoxication and that he helped her get
into her bed on November 14, 2020. Id. But according to John, after helping put Jane to bed, he
joined the others in the common room. (Filing No. 51 at 2.) At some point after that, John reported
that Jane woke up, got out of bed, and joined the others in the common room. Id. John reported
that at approximately 6:30 a.m. on November 14, 2020, Jane went to a nearby McDonald's with
some of the other individuals while he stayed and slept in the common room until later in the day.
After the alleged incident, John and Jane continued to communicate frequently, attended
at least one off-campus party together, and John visited Jane's apartment at least once. Id. They
also communicated during USI's winter break. Id. at 3. After the break, John returned to campus
but Jane was delayed due to COVID-19. Id. After Jane returned to campus, John and Jane
continued to communicate, including Jane demanding that John repay some money that he had
previously borrowed from her. Id.
On February 11, 2021, Jane had a panic attack and disclosed to her roommates that John
had "fingered her" without her consent on the morning of November 14, 2021. Id. Jane's
roommate called USI's Public Safety Office the same day and reported that Jane had been sexually
assaulted by John. Id. A USI public safety officer and a deputy from the Vanderburgh County
Sheriff's Office interviewed Jane in her apartment and each officer prepared a separate report. Id.
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at 4. On February 25, 2021, Jane submitted a written complaint to USI's Title IX Office alleging
that John had sexually assaulted her in her campus dorm room on the morning of November 14,
2020. (Filing No. 58 at 6.)
On March 26, 2021, USI sent written notice of the complaint to John. (Filing No. 51 at 56.) John alleges that the notice did not include the specific allegations of sexual assault, that USI
refused to give him a copy of Jane's complaint, and that USI withheld other facts. Id. at 6. USI
designated Demetrius Peterson ("Mr. Peterson"), a lawyer from Husch Blackwell, to act as the
Title IX Investigator for Jane's complaint. (Filing No. 58 at 7.) As a part of his investigation, Mr.
Peterson interviewed both John and Jane, as well as other individuals, and collected documents
from each of them. Id. Mr. Peterson completed his final Investigation Report on July 15, 2021.
(Filing No. 51 at 7.)
On July 26, 2021, USI gave written notice to John that a hearing on Jane's complaint would
take place. (Filing No. 58 at 9.) In the notice, USI stated that it would be appointing three people
from Grand River Solutions to serve as the hearing panel. Id. Grand River Solutions is an
independent firm that specializes in Title IX services. Id. The three representatives would conduct
the panel hearing, render a written responsibility determination and, if applicable, issue a sanction
determination. Id. By this time, John had retained counsel. On August 2, 2021, USI emailed John
and his counsel with a copy of the hearing agenda which outlined the procedural order of events
for the upcoming hearing and a copy of USI's Statement of Rights and Process which governed
the hearing procedure and rules of decorum. Id. at 10. After receiving the letter, John and his
counsel met with USI's Interim Title IX Coordinator on August 3, 2021. Id. at 11. During the
meeting, the parties discussed the procedure for the upcoming panel hearing and answered
questions posed by John and his counsel. Id.
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The hearing was held on August 4, 2021. Id. The hearing was conducted via Zoom and
lasted approximately five and a half hours excluding breaks. Id. The hearing included questioning
of Jane, John, and two witnesses, Jane's roommate and one of her suitemates. Id. During the
hearing, John's counsel was given the opportunity to cross-examine Jane and the two witnesses.
Id. At the conclusion of the hearing, the decision-makers advised the parties that they would
"deliberate in private to determine based on the preponderance of the evidence whether a policy
violation has been committed" and would then issue a written determination decision to the parties.
Id. at 11-12.
On August 25, 2021, USI sent John an email with the panel's written decision attached.
(Filing No. 51 at 16.) Using a preponderance of the evidence standard, the panel found John
responsible for committing sexual assault. (Filing No. 58 at 16.) The panel indicated that it reached
its decision by relying on the final Investigative Report and appendices, the statements provided
by Jane and John during the panel hearing, and the statements provided by witnesses who appeared
at the panel hearing. Id. The decision also included sanctioning John to the following: (1)
suspension, effective fall semester 2021 and eligible to return spring semester 2023; and (2) Title
IX Sexual Harassment education following return from suspension. (Filing No. 51 at 17.)
On September 1, 2021, John submitted a written appeal of the decision to USI. Id. at 21.
USI appointed Christopher Bayh ("Mr. Bayh"), an Indianapolis attorney from Barnes &
Thornburg, to serve as the appellate officer. Id. After reviewing the appeal, Mr. Bayh issued his
decision on September 22, 2021, denying John's appeal and affirming the panel's decision. Id.
On September 24, 2021, John filed his original Complaint in state court. (Filing No. 1-1.)
The original Complaint alleged several claims against USI: (1) violation of Title IX, erroneous
outcome; (2) violation of Title IX, deliberate indifference; (3) violation of due process under the
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Fourteenth Amendment; (4) violation of equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment; (5)
specific performance under contact; (6) judicial review of USI's appeal decision; (7) preliminary
and permanent injunction; and (8) temporary restraining order. Id. USI removed the case to federal
court on September 29, 2021. (Filing No. 1.) The Court entered an order extending temporary
restraining order issued by the state court, until it rules on the Motion for preliminary injunction.
(Filing No. 13). On October 18, 2021, John filed an Amended Complaint which reduced his claims
to three: (1) violation of Title IX; (2) preliminary and permanent injunction; and (3) attorneys' fees.
(Filing No. 27.) The Court heard oral argument on December 17, 2021. (Filing No. 105.)
John seeks a preliminary injunction on his Title IX claim to enjoin USI from enforcing a
three-semester suspension resulting from a fundamentally unfair disciplinary process. The Court
will first address the parties' preliminary motions before addressing the motion for injunctive relief.
Following oral argument on the Motion, John filed two motions to supplement the evidence
provided in support of the preliminary injunction. (Filing No. 117; Filing No. 127.) 1 The first
motion included social media posts from Jane indicating that she was transferring to the University
of Kansas. (Filing No. 117.) The second was to provide an interrogatory answered by USI
indicating that Jane was not currently enrolled at USI for any classes during the Spring 2022
semester. (Filing No. 127.) John argues that both pieces of evidence are material to the Court's
forthcoming ruling on his Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Filing No. 33), specifically to the
USI filed its own motion to supplement evidence (Filing No. 128), and John filed a third motion to supplement
evidence as well (Filing No. 130). Both motions have already been granted by the Court. (Filing No. 129; Filing No.
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balance of harms and public interest elements.
The Court has reviewed all of the parties
supplemental materials and since it has allowed prior supplements, will grant the pending motions.
Motion for Preliminary Injunction
As previously stated, to obtain a preliminary injunction, John must establish the following
factors: (1) that he is likely to succeed on the merits; (2) that he has no adequate remedy at law;
(3) that he is likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of preliminary relief; (4) that the
balance of equities tip in his favor; and (5) issuing the injunction is in the public interest. Geft,
922 F.3d at 364. The first two factors are threshold determinations. "If the moving party meets
these threshold requirements, the district court 'must consider the irreparable harm that the
nonmoving party will suffer if preliminary relief is granted, balancing such harm against the
irreparable harm the moving party will suffer if relief is denied.'" Stuller, Inc. v. Steak N Shake
Enterprises, Inc., 695 F.3d 676, 678 (7th Cir. 2012) (quoting Ty, Inc. v. Jones Group, Inc., 237
F.3d 891, 895 (7th Cir. 2001)). The Court first considers whether Doe has demonstrated a
likelihood of success on the merits regarding his Title IX claim.
Title IX provides that "[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be
excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under
any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance . . . ." 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a).
To support a Title IX claim, a plaintiff must show (1) that the educational institution intentionally
discriminated against the plaintiff based on the plaintiff's sex, and (2) that "gender was a motivating
factor in the decision to impose the discipline." Doe v. Indiana Univ.-Bloomington, 2019 WL
341760, at *8 (S.D. Ind. Jan. 28, 2019) (quoting King v. DePauw Univ., 2014 WL 4197507, at *10
(S.D. Ind. Aug 22, 2014)). The formative question the Court must answer is "do the alleged facts,
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if true, raise a plausible interference that [USI] discriminated against [John] on the basis of sex?"
Doe v. Purdue Univ., 928 F.3d 652, 667-668 (7th Cir. 2019).
One category of Title IX claims attacking a university’s disciplinary proceeding is the
“erroneous outcome” claim, where “the plaintiff was innocent and wrongly found to have
committed an offense.” Yusuf v. Vassar College, 35 F.3d 709, 715 (2d Cir. 1994). “A plaintiff
alleging an ‘erroneous outcome’ claim under Title IX must first ‘allege particular facts sufficient
to cast some articulable doubt on the accuracy of the outcome of the proceedings’ and then also
‘allege particular circumstances suggesting that gender bias was a motivating factor behind the
erroneous finding.’” Doe v. Purdue Univ., 281 F. Supp. 3d 754, 774 (N.D. Ind. 2017) (quoting
Yusuf, 35 F.3d at 715).
John argues that he is likely to succeed on the merits of his claim because of the numerous
violations of 34 C.F.R. § 106.45. John points out that when the Department of Education was
adopting this rule, it determined that these policies were needed to " avoid . . . injection of sexbased biases and stereotypes in Title IX proceedings." (Filing No. 51 at 28 (citing 85 Fed. Reg. at
30,054).) The Department of Education also stated that failing to comply with this new rule would
"constitute a violation of [the rule] and potentially, discrimination under Title IX." Id. (citing 85
Fed. Reg. at 30,047). In his briefing, John alleges twelve different violations of procedure that
support his Title IX claim, which the Court will discuss in turn.
First, during the process of investigating Jane's claim, USI changed its definition for rape
from "nonconsensual sexual intercourse" to a term that would include Jane's allegations against
John. Id. at 28-29. The previous definition aligned with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's
definition and, according to John, "the Interim Coordinator, Investigator, Decision Makers, and
Appeal Officer knew that 'rape' was nonconsensual intercourse." Id. at 29.
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Second, 34 C.F.R. 106.45(b)(6)(i) states that decision makers cannot rely on statements by
persons who were not subject to cross-examination. Id. Despite knowing this, John alleges that
the panel "relied on multiple purported statements by female witnesses that Plaintiff sexually
assaulted and/or raped them." Id.
Third, John contends that USI knew of the six requirements for a written decision under 34
C.F.R § 106.45(b)(7)(ii)(A)-(F), which require the identification of the allegations of sexual
harassment as defined in 34 C.F.R. § 106.30 and a determination as to each allegation. Id. John
asserts that the Title IX personnel ignored this mandate in its definition of "rape" and in failing to
render a determination of Jane's allegation of sexual assault for non-consensual kissing. Id.
Fourth, USI repeatedly threatened John with expulsion if he shared information relating to
allegations or the process outside of his advisor/council. Id. at 30. John contends that Title IX
personnel have been trained that this type of threat is prohibited and that a party has the right to
share information for purposes of the process and personal support. Id.
Fifth, USI implemented a new Title IX policy during the process of investigating Jane's
claim to alter the appeal grounds mandated in 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(8)(i). Id. According to John,
USI restricted appeals to those with "procedural irregularities" involving the "investigation." John
argues that this is a clear violation of the Regulations. Id.
Sixth, 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(6) restricts evidence of prior sexual relations between Jane
and John where consent was not an issue. Id. Because John denied that any conduct of a sexual
nature alleged by Jane occurred on November 14, 2020, the issue of consent was not relevant to
the complaint. Id. John asserts that the Title IX personnel ignored their training and addressed
prior sexual relations at all stages of the process. Id.
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Seventh, John argues that the Title IX personnel were trained in the prohibition in 34 C.F.R.
§ 106.45(b)(1)(ii) that "credibility determinations may not be based on a person's status as a …
respondent." Id. at 30. John contends that the panel ignored this mandate when it made a
determination of credibility, in part, based on his status as a respondent because he "has a
motivation to falsify information" as he "will likely face a sanction if found responsible." Id. at 31.
Eighth, USI did not provide him with written notice of Jane's allegations until after the
investigation was complete and just prior to the hearing. Id. at 31. Additionally, USI
misrepresented the existence of Jane's written complaint and the information it contained. Id. John
contends that 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(2)(B) requires prompt disclosure of information known by
USI and the specifics of Jane's allegations of sexual assault. Id.
Ninth, under 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(5)(i), (vi)-(vii), the burden of proof and the burden of
gathering evidence was on USI not John, the investigator was to provide access to all information
directly related to the allegations to John, and the investigator was to create a report that
summarizes the relevant evidence. Id. at 31-32. John contends that the investigator did not obtain
relevant evidence from Jane or her roommates, did not provide him with access to the Sheriff's
Office's interview with Jane's roommate, and he did not redact irrelevant information nor include
relevant videos in the report that was submitted to the panel. Id. Additionally, contrary to the
regulations, John asserts that the Appeal officer imposed the burden of gathering evidence and
proof on John and his counsel. Id.
Tenth, Title IX personnel were required to make an "objective evaluation of all relevant
evidence" pursuant to 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(1)(ii). Id. at 32. John, however, contends that both
the panel and the appeal officer ignored this regulation when reaching both of their decisions. Id.
For the panel, John argues that the hearing officer used leading and suggestive questioning to get
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John to agree to a timeline that the panel manufactured. Id. John alleges that the panel ignored
their training on authenticity and relied on photographs "not in evidence" to manufacture their
timeline. Id. Additionally, John alleges that the decision makers ignored Jane's admission that her
allegation of sexual assault for kissing was false when finding that the remainder of her testimony
was credible. Id.
Eleventh, USI was experiencing substantial criticism for its alleged inaction on Title IX
complaints. Id. at 33. John argues that because of this criticism, USI shut down comments on the
Men's Athletic Instagram page, blocked certain persons from posting comments, and issued a
social media post asserting that it takes allegations of sexual misconduct seriously. John alleges
that this criticism is what led USI to decide against him.
Finally, John asserts that all the individuals involved in the Title IX process "ignored their
training, the applicable policy, and the Title IX requirements." Id. John, by restating the various
violations previously mentioned, asserts that this resulted in various violations of 34 C.F.R. 106.45.
Id. Without citing any additional information, John concludes that "[t]hese numerous substantive
and procedural irregularities evidence a process motivated by gender bias against Plaintiff and in
favor of Jane doe." Id. at 36.
In response, USI first points out that John was an invitee under a license pursuant to the
implied contract of enrollment between USI and John. (Filing No. 58 at 20.) USI contends that it
has statutory authority under Indiana law to regulate John's conduct as a USI student. Id. (citing
Ind. Code § 21-39-2-3). This statutory authority authorizes USI "to construct [its] own disciplinary
procedures," and as a USI student, John contractually agreed to USI's procedures for deciding
Jane's allegation, including USI's appeal process. Id. USI argues that its appeal process was John's
final remedy for his grievances regarding the due process that USI promised to John. Id. at 21.
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The appeal decision was the final, non-appealable procedural event. Id. USI contends that John
does not and cannot argue that he contracted for a stay of a disciplinary suspension, pending the
arguments that he is presenting to the Court. Id.
Next, USI points out that John's Amended Complaint, which is now limited to a Title IX
claim, requires that he show that "sex was a motivating factor in [the] university's decision to
discipline a student." Id. (quoting Doe v. Purdue Univ., 928 F.3d at 667-68). USI argues that John
appears to allege "bias" from the Title IX personnel on four grounds: (1) procedural irregularities,
(2) relevance of evidence received, (3) choice of words and solicitude to witnesses, and (4)
evaluation of impeachment evidence. Id. USI contends that none of these arguments show bias
based on John's gender. Id.
USI next contends that any events prior to the August 4, 2021 hearing are immaterial to
the criteria for preliminary injunctive relief. Id. at 22. If John perceived any imminent or
prospective harm from anything that happened prior to August 4, 2021, he would have filed his
lawsuit much sooner. Id. "A preliminary injunction does not rewind the clock to address the
events that occurred months ago. A preliminary injunction ordinarily only exists to preserve the
status quo." Id. (citing Long v. Brown, No. 2:14-cv-00381-JMS-WGH, 2015 WL 4162809, at *2
(S.D. Ind. July 9, 2015)). USI argues that the panel has made their decision, and the suspension is
imminent. Id. at 22-23. The administrative process has been completed and USI argues that John
has failed to allege any rule authorizing a stay of implementation of the final, non-appealable
outcome. Id. at 23. According to USI, John cannot now invoke Title IX as a shield against "prompt
corrective measures" that should commence no later than completion of Title IX's "Grievance
process for formal complaints of sexual harassment." Id. at 23-24.
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USI argues that alleged errors of administrative due process, without more, is not probative
of discriminatory intent. Id. at 24. For his theory of relief, USI contends that John needs to show
the alleged procedural flaws were not errors at all, but rather were intentional steps in an anti-male
scheme. Id. at 25. USI contends that John offers no evidence for such a scheme and that, in fact,
the evidence is compelling in favor of USI's "good-faith and diligent commitment to truth-finding
and evenhandedness." Id. USI notes that John and his legal team participated in identifying the
issues for the hearing, finalizing the investigation record for the panel, and confirming the
procedures and rules for the hearing. Id. John, and likely his legal team, sent a response to the
investigative report that included the following:
The Written Response does not allege any anti-male bias on the part of the
investigator or anyone else associated with USI's process.
The Written Response opens the door to a new impeachment theory: "[Jane]
may have been pressured by [Jane's roommate] to make the false report against
me because [Jane's roommate] has made numerous online posts falsely accusing
me of assaulting other USI women and demanding I be removed as a member
of the USI Men's Soccer Team. There is absolutely no basis for such defamatory
statements, and no USI student or other woman has made any assault accusation
against me—because none have ever occurred."
The Written Response is silent on the investigation report's quotation of John's
statement that his history of touching Jane was limited to cuddling and kissing.
The Written Response does not contend that Jane was confusing the night in
question with a prior occasion on which John fingered Jane's vagina.
Id. at 25-26. In addition, neither John nor his legal team raised any issues during their meeting
with the Interim Title IX Coordinator the day before the hearing. Id. at 26. Both John and his
legal team also expressly affirmed on the record that the hearing process was understood and
accepted. Id. According to USI, at no point during or after the hearing did John or his counsel
express any objection or concern about the hearing or investigative process. Id.
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Finally, USI contends that John supplied no evidence of anti-male bias in the panel's
weighing of the evidence or the appellate officer's determination of John's appeal. Id. USI argues
that John cannot prove anti-male bias by pointing out issues with the text of rules or procedures,
nor can he show that the text of any University policy or procedure had an anti-male effect. Id.
Based on John's written response to the investigative report, his original strategy was to attribute
defamatory motives to Jane and her friends. Id. at 27. John maintained that he never joined Jane
in her bed on November 14, 2020, did not touch Jane's breasts, and did not touch Jane's vagina that
same morning. Id. However, at the hearing John pivoted to "a more conciliatory strategy." Id.
At the hearing John admitted for the first time that he did, in fact, touch Jane in the ways she
alleged, but only with her consent and only on a different occasion when she was sober. Id.
Further, John testified that he believed that Jane's allegation was not intentionally false, but rather
she was just confused, which Jane later denied. Id. USI argues that John's allegation of anti-male
bias did not occur until after he received the panel ruling and "learned how badly his 'confusion'
argument had impeached his credibility." Id. USI asserts that John has pointed to no gender bias
on the part of the Title IX personnel or in their decision. Id. at 28-29. It asserts that the panel
heard John change his story during the hearing, as well as heard from other witnesses that they
observed John laying in Jane's bed despite his denying it. Id. This was enough, USI contends, for
the panel to reach its decision and none of the alleged procedural irregularities demonstrate antimale bias. Id.
At oral argument, John referenced a USI school newspaper article that accused USI of not
taking allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and "allowing a rapist to run on campus." (Filing
No. 109 at 18.) He argued that because of "public pressure", USI made him the sacrificial male
lamb and intentionally withheld exculpatory evidence concerning credibility. Id. at 34. But John
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has produced no evidence to support his assertion that USI's erroneous decision was based on male
gender bias. As noted in Doe v. Columbia College Chicago, 299 F.Supp 939, 954 (N.D.I.L. 2017),
several courts have similarly rejected erroneous outcome claims based upon allegations of general
anti-male bias resulting from public and government pressure. See, e.g., Doe v. Cummins, 662
Fed.Appx. 437, 452 (6th Cir. 2016) (rejecting plaintiff's claim that university adopted malebiased sexual assault investigation procedures to appease federal government); Xiaolu Peter Yu v.
Vassar Coll., 97 F.Supp.3d 448, 474–75 (S.D.N.Y. 2015), (rejecting plaintiff's claim because he
did not provide statements by university officials showing discriminatory intent or statistical
evidence that “males invariably lose” when charged with sexual misconduct and thus
did not “provide any evidence suggesting that the outcome was born out of gender bias”); Doe v.
Univ. of Colo., 255 F.Supp.3d 1064, 1077 (D. Colo. 2017) (“pressure from the [ ] government to
investigate sexual assault allegations more aggressively—either general pressure exerted by the
Dear Colleague Letter or specific pressure exerted by an investigation directed at the University,
or both—says nothing about the University's alleged desire to find men responsible because they
John also argues the totality of the evidence supports a plausible inference of gender bias,
but even if John is correct regarding the numerous policy violations made by USI, he has failed to
demonstrate that the cause of any of these irregularities originated from an individual's animosity
towards his male sex. Instead, most of John's arguments appear to show his disagreement with the
weighing of evidence and credibility determinations made by the panel and appellate hearing
officer. No evidence of statements or conduct demonstrating gender bias or discrimination have
been presented. John's numerous complaints about USI's Title IX grievance process, at most,
amount to a claim that USI favors complainants over respondents. Most courts, however, that
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have addressed the issue of whether anti-male bias can be reasonably inferred from evidence of a
school's anti-respondent bias "have concluded that evidence of a school's anti-respondent bias does
not create a reasonable inference of anti-male bias." Doe v. University of Denver, 952 F.3d 1182,
1196 (10th Cir. 2020) (collecting cases); see also Doe v. Trustees of Indiana Univ., No. 1:21-cv00973-JRS-MPB, 2021 WL 2982186, at *5 (S.D. Ind. July 15, 2021). Based upon the Court's
review and analysis of the evidence and arguments, the Court concludes that John does not have a
reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of his Title IX claim.
C. Irreparable Harm
Having found that John’s Title IX claims show no likelihood of succeeding on the merits,
the will only briefly analyze his irreparable harm claim; after all, IU has successfully demonstrated
that John cannot satisfy the requirements for receiving preliminary injunctive relief.
irreparable harm alleged by John is “the loss of his education and educational related activities at
USI from present to Spring Semester 2023, the continuing and permanent harm from a gap in his
educational records, [and] his branding as a rapist and the finding of guilt as to sexual assault.”
(Filing No. 27 at 69). During oral argument, USI asserted that transcripts do not display
disciplinary status. And s USI argued, John has only been suspended for three-semesters, not
expelled. When the suspension runs its course and John complies with the conditions of reenrollment, USI asserts that he will have the same educational opportunity at USI that he has
The Court agrees, the harms alleged are not actual or likely. John tenders no evidence that
there is “disciplinary mark” on his “USI transcript” (Filing No. 51 at 47) nor any evidence that he
has attempted to transfer to any institution. A plaintiff cannot obtain a preliminary injunction by
speculating about hypothetical future injuries. E. St. Louis Laborers’ Local 100 v. Bellon Wrecking
Case 3:21-cv-00144-TWP-MPB Document 133 Filed 05/10/22 Page 17 of 18 PageID #: 3213
& Salvage Co., 414 F.3d 700, 705-06 (7th Cir. 2005). The threatened injury must be “more than
mere speculation.” Janvey v. Alguire, 647 F.3d 585, 601 (5th Cir. 2011). On the record before the
Court, John's alleged harms are not irreparable.
John Doe has failed to satisfy either of the threshold requirements for injunctive relief,
therefore the Court need not balance the hardship between the parties or determine the public
interest. For the foregoing reasons, John Doe's Supplemental Motion to Supplement Preliminary
Injunction Evidentiary Submission (Filing No. 117) and Second Motion to Supplement
Preliminary Injunction Evidentiary Submission (Filing No. 127) are GRANTED but his Motion
for Preliminary Injunction (Filing No. 33) is DENIED.
Case 3:21-cv-00144-TWP-MPB Document 133 Filed 05/10/22 Page 18 of 18 PageID #: 3214
Robert L. Burkart
ZIEMER STAYMAN WEITZEL & SHOULDERS
ZIEMER STAYMAN WEITZEL & SHOULDERS LLP
Joseph Heavrin Harrison, III
STUART & BRANIGIN
William P. Kealey
STUART & BRANIGIN
Matthew Stephen Koressel
ZIEMER STAYMAN WEITZEL & SHOULDERS LLP
Keith W. Vonderahe
ZIEMER STAYMAN WEITZEL & SHOULDERS
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