"[Becky's] account of the incident as set forth in the summary of her investigative interviews does not, on its face, allege any 'act of Prohibited Conduct,'" James's attorney wrote in an April 11 letter to Wendi Delmendo, UC-Davis's Title IX coordinator. "Even if everything [Becky] alleges is true, my client clearly did nothing wrong and did not engage in Prohibited Conduct."

And yet the investigation continued until May 1—at which point the Office of Student and Judiciary Affairs finally concluded that James was innocent. Even so, Becky was afforded the opportunity to appeal the decision, consistent with university policy as dictated by the Obama administration's Education Department, which had obligated college administrators to give accusers the option of appealing adverse findings if they granted this right to the accused.

I've covered dozens of Title IX cases involving dubious sexual misconduct allegations, unfair adjudicatory procedures, and life-ruining consequences for the young men involved. James's situation is different: He was cleared, and is now enjoying his sophomore year at UC-Davis. In some sense, the process worked.

Even so, James had to spend most of a semester fearful that his life as he knew it was about to end—that his name would become synonymous with the evil men of #MeToo. He had to recount the intimate details of an amorous encounter to university administrators, a lawyer, and his parents. And his family shelled out $12,000 in legal fees.

"We're not a rich family, so that made a sizeable debt," says James. "Tuition for UC-Davis is around $16,000 a year. This was almost another year of college."

This was the cost of successfully defending against a sexual misconduct allegation that wasn't even really an allegation of sexual misconduct.


Good freaken grief. This entire notion that colleges should be doing these investigations are absurd.