Indiana University statement on review of recent student sexual misconduct disciplinary hearings
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In February, following the resignation of Director of Student Ethics Jason Casares, Indiana University Bloomington initiated a comprehensive review of all student sexual misconduct hearings over which Casares had presided during the current academic year. The intent of the review, which comprised 17 cases, was to determine whether the university's policies and processes were followed appropriately in bringing these cases to resolution.
Julia Lamber, professor emerita at the IU Maurer School of Law and a recognized authority on issues related to Title IX, agreed to perform the review. For each case under review, Lamber read the entire case file and listened to the full audio recording of the disciplinary hearing associated with the case. In addition, she interviewed the other two panelists who heard each case and who, along with Casares, had determined whether the evidence supported finding the respondent either "responsible" or "not responsible" of the charge levied against the individual, as well as the appropriate sanctions where there was a finding of responsibility.
In particular, Lamber's review focused on Casares' conduct in the disciplinary hearings as well as his interaction with the parties involved in each case and the other hearing panelists.
After a thorough review, Lamber determined that the disciplinary hearings in question were conducted without bias or undue influence and that the university's processes were followed, in turn ensuring a fair process for all parties involved.
"The university can trust the training [of its hearing officers] and the process" for adjudicating sexual misconduct claims, Lamber's review concluded.
Other observations from Lamber's review:
- Casares always sought the opinions of other hearing panelists before offering his own, and at no time did hearing officers feel they were pressured into taking a particular position by Casares.
- Hearing panelists who served on panels chaired by Casares as well as on panels chaired by another university staff member reported that the process was consistent under both individuals.
- All hearing panelists interviewed reported that they have received thorough training for their roles and that they felt comfortable with the hearing process and their ability to render a judgment in each case.
- In all but one case reviewed, the hearing panel returned a unanimous decision.
The parties involved in each case have been informed of the findings from Lamber's review and that the original determination made in their case stands. With the conclusion of this review, the university considers these cases final, and no further action will be taken.
Associate vice president, IU Communications
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