KJK Student & Athlete Defense/Title IX attorneys Susan Stone and Kristina Supler recently spoke with Law & Crime Network‘s Brian Ross regarding the case of their client, Damilare Sonoiki, who is suing Harvard University based on egregious violations of his rights following allegations of sexual assault.
“Every student, regardless of sex, should have the right to come forward and report claims of sexual violence. The issue in this case is, what should the process be?” Supler explained.
“And what was the process here that you most object to?” asked Ross.
“We most object to the fact that Damilare was, in essence, shut out of the process. And this is a 21-year-old man at the time, with no attorney. Doesn’t even know the identities of the witnesses against him. No ability to question the evidence against him. And really had to, on his own, work his way through an entirely byzantine and convoluted process. Damilare never had a fighting chance to defend himself, whatsoever. He didn’t even have an opportunity to hear what was being said about him to know whether his side of the story was being accurately represented to the panel,” said Supler.
In May 2013, Damilare Sonoiki was supposed to receive his degree. But on graduation day, Damilare received word that the envelope he was to be handed when he walked with his classmates would be empty, with no diploma inside, after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against him by three women. To this day, Harvard has not given Damilare his degree.
“Think about it. Somebody goes to a school and for four years studies and completes all the requirements and then finds out that they are not going to get a degree. It’s unthinkable, what happened to him,” remarked Stone.
Damilare denies the allegations against him.
Stone and Supler say Sonoiki filed the lawsuit because Harvard refused to grant him his degree even though he satisfied all of the requirements for graduation, was in good standing at the time of his scheduled graduation, and even spoke to his class as part of graduation exercises and walked in his graduation ceremony. They say Harvard pressured three women into filing Title IX complaints against Sonoiki, and subjected him to a “blatantly arbitrary and capricious disciplinary process.”
If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, please reach out to Student & Athlete Defense/Title IX Partner Susan Stone (216.736.7220, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kristina Supler (216.736.7217, email@example.com).
Read more Law360 coverage on this case here.
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