Updated 6:37 p.m.
Jack Montague, former captain of the Yale men’s basketball team, will sue the University after being expelled last month for sexual misconduct, according to a statement by his attorney Max Stern.
The statement, which was released Monday morning by Polaris Public Relations, the public relations firm representing Montague, details the process by which the former captain was expelled. The alleged incident took place between Montague and a female junior at Yale who, according to the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct fact finder’s report, “had developed a relationship that led them to sleeping together in [Montague’s] room in four occasions in the fall of 2014.” Only the last of those four incidents is disputed as non-consensual.
“We strongly believe that the decision to expel Jack Montague was wrong, unfairly determined, arbitrary, and excessive by any rational measure,” the statement read. “Yale has been oblivious to the catastrophic and irreparable damage resulting from these allegations and determinations.”
Speaking on behalf of Montague’s lawyer, a spokeswoman for Polaris Public Relations would not specify the grounds for the lawsuit, but said a complaint will be filed within a month.
University spokesman Tom Conroy, in a statement to the News after Montague’s statement was made public, declined to comment on the specifics of Montague’s case. The University does not comment on specific cases of student discipline out of respect for the privacy and confidentiality of the involved parties, he said.
According to Stern’s statement, the female student said that she did not consent to intercourse during the fourth, “disputed” episode, while Montague said that she did. The description of the incident states that the female student joined Montague in bed, voluntarily undressed herself, and had sexual intercourse with Montague. The two then got up, left the room and went separate ways and later that same evening, the female student reached out to Montague to meet up. She returned to his room and spent the rest of the night in bed with Montague.
A year after the fourth encounter, which occurred in October of 2014, the female student reported the incident to Yale’s Title IX coordinator. A Title IX official, not the student, filed a formal complaint within the UWC.
According to UWC procedure, “a Coordinator may bring a complaint when there is evidence that the University’s policies on sexual misconduct have been violated and the Coordinator’s intervention is needed to ensure that the matter reaches the UWC.”
“Only two persons could have known what happened on that fourth night. The panel chose to believe the woman, by a ‘preponderance of the evidence,” the statement read. “We believe that it defies logic and common sense that a woman would seek to re-connect and get back into bed with a man who she says forced her to have unwanted sex just hours earlier.”
Conroy called Yale’s procedures for addressing allegations of sexual misconduct “thorough and fair,” and said in cases that involve judgments about the witnesses’ credibility, all of the “corroborating or contradictory information is carefully weighed” to determine the truth.
“One out of five formal sexual misconduct hearings ends without a finding against the accused, and, in two out of five cases, the accused student receives a reprimand or probation,” Conroy wrote. “Only about one out of 10 cases ends in expulsion, and the decision to expel a student is made only after the most careful consideration, based on the facts and, when appropriate, disciplinary history.”
On Feb. 10, 2016, Montague was expelled after the UWC panel that heard his case recommended expulsion, and the Dean of Yale College Jonathan Holloway accepted its recommendation. University Provost Benjamin Polak, who hears appeals from students, upheld the decision, according to the statement.
The statement noted the widespread media coverage of posters that went up on campus accusing Montague of being a rapist and condemning his team for supporting him.
“He was never accused of rape and Yale took no steps to correct these actions,” the statement read. “As a result, Mr. Montague has no choice but to correct the record.”
The statement also highlights the timing of Montague’s expulsion — it came soon after the release of the report by the Association of American Universities which, according to the statement, “was highly critical of the incidence of sexual assault on the Yale campus.”
“From what appears, Jack has been pilloried as a “whipping boy” for a campus problem that has galvanized national attention,” the statement read.
The student group Unite Against Sexual Assault Yale released a statement Monday afternoon on its Facebook page. In the post, USAY called for the student body to “critically evaluate” Montague’s statement, and to move the campus conversation beyond the basketball team and toward an examination of Yale’s sexual culture in general — as the group did during its March 10 “chalk-in” event.
Citing the same statistics that Conroy mentioned, USAY’s post stated that Montague’s statement “relies heavily on the false notion” that a female student would not return to the room of a student who had sexually assaulted her.
“In fact, such seemingly illogical actions are a common response to severe trauma, particularly when the victim and assailant are in a relationship,” the statement read.