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Middlebury College Statement on Recent Federal Court Decision

September 18, 2015


On September 16, 2015, Federal District Court Senior Judge J. Garvan Murtha ordered Middlebury College to re-enroll an undergraduate student the College had expelled in August. Under the court’s order, the student will be permitted to attend Middlebury while the lawsuit continues.

Middlebury College found the student responsible for the sexual assault of a non-Middlebury student while both were attending a non-Middlebury study abroad program in the fall of 2014. Earlier this year, Middlebury initiated an investigation of the student based on documents, physical evidence and other information it received from the student who made the report. Concerns were also raised about the study abroad program's investigation and adjudication process.

The Middlebury College Handbook holds students accountable for policy violations that take place between the time they first arrive on campus and their graduation. Under its policies, a Middlebury student's off-campus conduct may be subject to Middlebury's disciplinary processes when, among other things, such conduct may represent a threat to the safety of the Middlebury community or any of its members. Middlebury initiated an investigation and adjudication of the student’s conduct on that basis and we believe we properly applied our policies in this case.

Middlebury College is deeply disappointed by the court’s decision to grant the plaintiff, who currently is identified as John Doe, a preliminary injunction requiring Middlebury to allow him to re-enroll for the fall semester. We believe the court erred in its interpretation of the facts and the law in reaching this decision.

We are considering our legal options, but at this time we are obliged to comply with the court’s order.