In an opinion Friday, Judge Woods dismissed a gender discrimination suit brought by a male Columbia student who was found “not responsible” for an alleged sexual assault, but who nonetheless alleged that the school discriminated against him by encouraging his accuser’s alleged campaign against him afterwards. The accuser was awarded academic credit for a senior thesis known as the “Mattress Project,” in which she carried a mattress with her during her senior year as a protest for the school’s inaction.
Judge Woods noted at the outset that his role was “limited,” and would not involve “advocat[ing] for best practices or policies,” or even “decid[ing] whether Columbia treated Plaintiff fairly or unfairly.” (These statements quote from another case against Columbia before Judge Furman and covered here.)
Judge Woods dismissed the gender discrimination (Title IX) claims because they were premised on a “logical fallacy”:
[The plaintiff] assumes that because the allegations against him concerned a sexual act that everything that follows from it is “sex-based” within the meaning of Title IX. He is wrong. . . . To the extent that [the accuser’s] activism was aimed at [the plaintiff] it was because of his conduct toward her (whether because of his rejection of her, as he alleges, or because of the rape, as she claims) not because of his status as a male. Personal animus is not gender-based harassment, and cannot form the basis for a Title IX violation.