Hopkins student is expelled in sex-assault case 3 found to violate conduct code in frat house incident

August 18, 1992|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Staff Writer

A Johns Hopkins University student has been expelled after a review by university officials of a Loyola College sophomore's charge that she was sexually assaulted in a Hopkins fraternity house last fall.

A second Hopkins student was suspended for a year as a result of the campus investigation, and a third was reprimanded. Officials concluded that the three men had violated the student conduct code.

The alleged assault took place at the beginning of the fall 1991 semester in the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, of which all three men were members.

There was no investigation by law enforcement authorities because the woman declined to press criminal charges. She did file a complaint with university officials, however.

The university's handling of the case has provoked criticism from Alpha Delta Phi representatives and others on campus who say the school, acting as both prosecutor and judge, cannot fairly adjudicate a serious assault charge with the same disciplinary process used to hear minor student infractions.

P. Olen Snider Jr., president of the Hopkins alumni chapter of Alpha Delta Phi, noted that the men were unable to confront their accuser or have an attorney sit in on meetings with university officials.

"What has come up in all this is this rather glaring set of procedures," Mr. Snider said. "It just made me angry as an attorney. They should do better than that."

Hopkins spokesman Dennis O'Shea declined to discuss the case but defended the process.

"The students have been fully informed of the charges against them," he said. "They've been given a full and fair opportunity to respond. This is not a criminal proceeding in the courts.

"The process that's in place here is one that's appropriate for an educational institution."

Mr. O'Shea said that Susan K. Boswell, dean of students at Hopkins, investigated the woman's charges. After hearing from the men, she imposed the penalties, Mr. O'Shea said.

The woman had filed the complaint with university officials last spring, six months after the alleged incident. Rumors about the case swept across campus for several weeks before she came forward.

The two students who were most seriously penalized have filed appeals with the Hopkins provost. Charles S. Fax, a lawyer advising all three men, said they would have no comment. A Loyola official said the woman did not want to discuss the case.

Several universities across the country have struggled to deal with similar cases. Female victims have sometimes criticized their universities for not taking quick and strong action against men accused of sexual assault.

The Alpha Delta Phi house is in an apartment building at the corner of 33rd and St. Paul streets. All three men resigned from the fraternity after the woman filed her complaint, according to fraternity officials.

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