Yale University

UPDATE (5/17/2014, 6:00 p.m.): This piece proceeds on the premise that “Lisbeth” (the woman on whose behalf the fundraiser and Protecting Lisbeth Facebook page were created) and author of the Thought Catalog essay and Protecting Lisbeth blog are the same person. Though the parties involved currently remain anonymous or pseudonymous, this premise appears to be false. I regret any error or confusion.

In an essay for Thought Catalog called “I Had an Affair with My Hero, A Philosopher Who’s Famous For Being ‘Moral,’” an anonymous graduate student describes her soured romance with a prominent professor from another university and how she learned that he initially hid his history of pursuing other young women. Shortly thereafter, her friend started a campaign to crowd-fund expenses for legal action. They created the pseudonym “Lisbeth” for the essay’s author. Under the heading “Help us sue the school protecting a known rapist,” the fundraiser’s description now reads, “I’m Emma Sloan, Yale 2010. My dear friend is suing the professor who tried to rape her and the university for knowingly protecting him. Thanks to donations from our generous supporters, she can afford the $7000 retainer for a forensic psychiatrist.”

The Chronicle of Higher Education reported on the case. Many within the academic community have joined the fray, whether to champion Lisbeth’s cause, attach it to broader gender equality concerns, express doubts, or simply gossip.

Title IX obligates schools that receive federal funds to address sexual violence or harassment on their campuses. To pursue a grievance or official complaint, the person need not herself be the victim of the alleged discrimination. Someone who claims to be the actual victim of a Title IX violation has the additional right to pursue her claim in private litigation against the university. If she can show that the school was deliberately indifferent despite actual knowledge of the misconduct, she can win injunctive relief or money damages for her injuries. Yale’s Title IX coordinator, Stephanie Spangler, is investigating Lisbeth’s claims.

So, where exactly did this professor’s alleged conduct pass from merely smarmy to worthy of legal sanction?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Crowd-Funded Sexual Misconduct Case Against A Yale Professor May Not Hurt Who You Think It Does”

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* Another lawyer joins the new-media world: Richard Chen, formerly of Arnold & Porter, joins the Hedge Fund Law Report as editor-in-chief. [Hedge Fund Law Report]

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