Two former University of Houston students. expelled in connection with an alleged sexual assault on campus, are suing the school and two administrators, claiming they were denied due process in the investigation and administrative hearings.
The lawsuit calls into question the pressure universities face to crack down on campus sexual assault. The plaintiffs claim they were kept in the dark about the investigation and given little chance to defend themselves.
UH officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the suit.
According to the lawsuit, Ryan McConnell, a former UH student, went drinking at the Den, a campus bar, on Nov. 19, 2011. While there, he met a female student, and the two ended up kissing, then going back to McConnell’s room at the Calhoun Lofts together. There the two, heavily intoxicated, according to the lawsuit, had sex and fell asleep naked on the floor.
McConnell’s girlfriend, Natalie Plummer, came home to find the two on the floor. Plummer made a video recording of the two “because she was mad that McConnell was cheating on her and wanted to be able to confront him about his behavior later,” the lawsuit said.
Plummer led the female student into the hallway and to the elevator, where she recorded her again, according to the lawsuit. The female student was found naked in the elevator by other students and UH police were called.
According to the lawsuit, UH police, along with the prosecutor, determined there was insufficient evidence that any criminal conduct occurred, in part because “the Female UH Student ‘has no memory’ of the incident.”
Plummer posted a photo of the incident on Facebook and later deleted it, and also shared the two videos with a friend. The videos later ended up in the hands of the Harris County Sheriff’s office.
Three months later, the student filed a complaint with the university against McConnell, saying she believed she was a victim of sexual assault.
Three months later.