Attorney: UM student charged in sex assault had rights violated

A man under investigation by the University of Michigan on charges of sexual assault against a student says the school is violating his civil rights and is now suing the university - but it could have a ripple effect for other universities.

Deborah Gordon is representing the student - who is not being identified. She says he was accused of sexual assault but his rights are being violated during the process.

"Suddenly his world stops. At this point, there's nothing he can do," Gordon said. "The University of Michigan placed a hold on his official transcript and his degree. Here you have a young man who has graduated and preparing to enter graduate school. He's unable to do anything."

The male student and the female student had sex last November. Four months later, the woman made a complaint with the university saying it was not consensual. That's when the U-M launched an investigation to see if he violated the school policy. It's been 85 days and they still don't have a decision.  

"We are going to make you sit while we fool around with this investigation that doesn't give you due process," Gordon said.

Gordon says her client should be getting a hearing with decision-makers similar to a trial before they can take disciplinary action. That's the case for every accusation on campus - with the exception of sex crimes. 

Within the last decade, U-M developed a separate set of rules for handling sexual assault complaints. 

"If you have been accused of sexual misconduct you get none of this, you're over here with plan B," Gordon says.

She's represented four other students from U-M and Michigan State University with the same story to tell. 

Gordon says her client is innocent but also says this particular suit isn't about guilt or innocence.

"The U.S. courts have said you cannot deprive a university student of his education or his educational credentials until he gets due process."

The University of Michigan issued an email response to our request for questions saying they don't have anything to add at this point and say they haven't been officially served with the suit yet.