While 10 prestigious private Massachusetts colleges have signed a legal brief in support of Brandeis University, which is facing a lawsuit from a 1997 graduate alleging unfair disciplinary treatment, Harvard will not join them.
The state's highest court heard arguments yesterday in the suit of Brandeis graduate David A. Schaer, who was suspended from the school after being accused of "unwanted sexual conduct" by a female undergraduate.
The case has been seen as a pivotal test of students' rights on college campuses. Most universities--Harvard included--are reluctant to have their internal processes subjected to legal questioning.
Harvard's General Counsel's office did not return repeated calls yesterday afternoon, and University Attorney Allan A. Ryan Jr. declined to comment on why Harvard did not join the group in filing the brief.
The state Supreme Court is considering a Brandeis appeal following a ruling by a lower appeals court that Schaer had legal grounds to challenge Brandeis' decision.
Schaer has alleged--both in Brandeis and legal appeals--that he did not get a fair hearing, and that the school did not follow its own rules.
According to Brandeis counsel Alan D. Rose '67, the school maintains Schaer received a fair hearing. He added that students played a significant role in the decision to suspend Schaer, because four of the six members of the disciplinary board that made the decision were students.
Schaer's lawyers emphasized that they believe a ruling in their client's favor would not break new ground, because Brandeis already has an obligation to follow its own rules.
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