Brandeis University: Refusal to Provide Due Process to Person Accused of Sex Offense
David Schaer, a student accused by a fellow student of sexual misconduct, was tried in an absurd kangaroo court, denied basic standards of due process, unable to question or face his accuser, and ultimately found guilty. Schaer sued the university for violation of promised due process rights. In an important decision, Schaer v. Brandeis, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts reaffirmed the longstanding precedent that rights guaranteed to students in college handbooks have the force of contract. In addition to ruling that colleges and universities can be sued for breach of contract based on promises contained in student handbooks, the court also reaffirmed the common law principle that colleges and universities must treat students with basic fairness even in the absence of such contracts. Unfortunately, three of the five Justices who heard the case concluded that Brandeis had met its legal obligation to student David Arlen Schaer in his disciplinary hearing. The factual issue was whether Brandeis had complied with the promises made in its own student handbook.
- "FIRE on CNN," January 16, 2001: On Sunday, January 14, CNN examined campus judicial systems, including the Columbia Sexual Misconduct Policy and the David Schaer case at Brandeis, on CNN & TIME. CNN interviewed FIRE's executive director, Thor Halvorssen
- "The Wall Street Journal's Dorothy Rabinowitz Investigates Brandeis Case," December 22, 2000: Dorothy Rabinowitz, a crusading editor of The Wall Street Journal, wrote a searing report in the Journal on the case of Brandeis student David Schaer. Rabinowitz, whose investigations of wrongful convictions changed the conscience of the nation, is scandalized by what she has discovered about academic injustice. Her editorial report, "University Days," quoted FIRE cofounder Harvey A. Silverglate and discussed FIRE's friend-of-the-court brief in Schaer's lawsuit against Brandeis.
- "Kaminer on Schaer," September 28, 2000: Kaminer's dissenting critique of FIRE's analysis.
- "Although Schaer Loses Case, Supreme Judicial Court Reaffirms Fundamental Student Rights," September 27, 2000: The Schaer v. Brandeis ruling is a step forward, not a defeat, in the fight for campus due process. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts reaffirmed longstanding precedent that rights guaranteed to students in college handbooks have the force of contract. Unfortunately, three of the five Justices who heard the case concluded that Brandeis had met its legal obligation to student David Arlen Schaer in his disciplinary hearing. The factual issue was whether Brandeis had complied with the promises made in its own student handbook.
- "Campus Kangaroo Courts Under Fire; Lawsuit Highlights Due Process Violations," July 20, 2000: There is virtually no place left in the United States where kangaroo courts and Star Chambers are the rule rather than the exception—except on college and university campuses. This week's front page story in The Chronicle of Higher Education investigates the case of David Arlen Schaer, a former undergraduate student at Brandeis University whose lawsuit against Brandeis reveals a common campus scenario.
- "Amicus Brief Schaer v Brandeis University," May 4, 2000: FIRE has joined with the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts in filing an amicus brief supporting the rights of Brandeis University undergraduate David Arlen Schaer to due process and fundamental fairness.
- "Halvorssen Fights the PC Fire With FIRE,"
by Stephen Goode, Insight on the News, January 23, 2001
- "CNN Transcript,"
January 14, 2001
- "Justice 101,"
CNN.com, January 14, 2001
- "University Days,"
by Dorothy Rabinowitz, The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2000
- "FIRE Challenges Campus Judicial System, Political Correctness Organization Seeks to Rectify Perceived Injustices,"
Dean & Provost, December 1, 2000
- "By the Book,"
by Harvey Silverglate, The Boston Phoenix, October 5, 2000
- "Date Rape Case Gives Brandeis SJC Challenge,"
by Sacha Pfeiffer, The Boston Globe, April 30, 2000