Expelled Yale hoops player seeks reinstatement, claims school violated its own Title IX confidentiality rules
By Evan Lips | November 1, 2016, 14:34 EDT
NEW HAVEN — Attorneys representing expelled former Yale University basketball captain Jack Montague have filed a motion in federal court that seeks to force the school to allow him to complete his degree.
Yale expelled the hoops star months before he was set to graduate after a university disciplinary committee determined his fourth encounter with a fellow student more than a year earlier constituted non-consensual sex. Montague sued Yale in June, claiming breach of contract.
Attorneys for Montague say evidence submitted to the court on Monday shows that university officials blatantly “misled and pressured” Montague’s accuser into cooperating and that, in so doing, the officials violated Yale’s procedures regarding confidentiality.
Chief among the exhibits is the prepared statement that Montague’s accuser, referenced in court documents as Jane Roe, was instructed by a university Title IX officer to read to a disciplinary committee reviewing the case. Montague’s attorneys maintain he was not provided an opportunity to properly refute the allegations.
According to the agreed-upon facts, Montague and Roe slept together in Montague’s room on four occasions during the fall of 2014. Sexual contact occurred on all four occasions, with intercourse occurring on the third and fourth. A year later, Roe alleged a year later that the fourth occasion was non-consensual.
Roe’s statement indicates that she initially thought Montague “would benefit from sensitivity training, and the informal complaint process seemed like the best way to achieve that.”
Roe noted, however, that her “perspective broadened” following discussions with the school’s Title IX officer and added that she “began to think about the other people on this campus and how my choosing to remain silent on this matter could harm them.”
Roe said she was informed by a Title IX officer that Montague had previously completed university-mandated “sensitivity training” stemming from an incident when he was a freshman. That incident involved allegations that Montague stuffed a rolled-up paper plate down the shirt of a female student during an argument — an offense Montague’s attorney’s say did not amount to sexual assault.
Montague’s attorneys note that Yale’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator Angela Gleason improperly told Roe that Montague had undergone mandatory sensitivity training due to a previous incident of sexual assault, a statement they claim was not only false but violated Yale’s own confidentiality policies.
Yale’s confidentiality rules state that “disciplinary action may be taken against any member of the Yale community who discloses a UWC document in violation of these procedures or who is responsible for the improper disclosure of such documents by others.”
According to the motion filed Monday, “Montague had never before been the subject of a complaint of sexual assault, nor had he ever before been required to participate in training concerning sexual relationships or sexual consent.”
In a sworn affidavit, Montague testified that sexual relationships and sexual contact never figured in the training sessions mandated following the paper plate incident.
Montague’s attorneys say Gleason “knew or acted in reckless disregard of the falsity of her statements to Roe and the false light in which they would place Montague.”
“The harm Gleason caused by disclosing this information to Roe was far worse than reputational damage alone: Gleason’s disclosure was the reason Roe agreed to allow Yale’s Title IX Coordinator to file a formal complaint against Montague, because the disclosure caused Roe to believe (falsely) that Montague had previously sexually assaulted a female student at Yale, and had previously received training concerning sexual consent,” the motion states.
Montague’s attorneys also site a recent ruling by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in which OCR determined that Wesley College in Delaware violated the rights of an accused student by failing to provide him a fair and adequate opportunity to rebut charges against him.
Montague’s attorneys argue that Yale erred in a similar fashion when it considered the paper plate incident “outside of Montague’s presence” during its evaluation of Roe’s claim. Montague, according to his attorneys, was also never informed by the school that he would be allowed to deliver a prepared statement to the final proceedings, as his accuser had done.
Montague’s university adviser, basketball coach James Jones, “was unaware of the practice of preparing opening statements for UWC hearings, and no one from Yale informed Montague that he should prepare an opening statement,” the motion claims.
In its answer to Montague’s initial complaint, Yale doubled-down on its claim that Montague’s actions warranted his expulsion.
Yale spokesman Tom Conroy said Tuesday that the university will be filing a response opposing the Montague’s motion.
“As the university said when the lawsuit was filed, it is factually inaccurate and legally baseless, and Yale will offer a vigorous defense,” Conroy added.
Read a copy of the motion: