Three months after a New Haven jury found him not guilty of rape, Saifullah Khan can return to Yale College — at least for now.
On June 7, Yale College Dean Marvin Chun informed Khan in an email obtained by the News that he could re-enroll in classes as early as this summer, while the University continues to evaluate a sexual misconduct complaint filed against him shortly before his arrest in November 2015.
In March, Khan was found not guilty of sexual assault in New Haven Superior Court. But he still faces an investigation by the University-wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct — which uses a lower standard of evidence than a criminal court — into the assault allegations that led to his arrest.
Yale spokesman Tom Conroy declined to comment on Khan’s suspension. And Khan declined to say whether he has enrolled in Yale Summer Session or hopes to take classes at the University anytime in the future. But Cynthia Garrett — an advisor to Khan and the director of a group that advocates due process for students accused of sexual misconduct — indicated that Khan is unlikely to immediately re-enroll.
“Yale lifting his suspension, his interim suspension, it’s like a Pyrrhic victory,” Garrett said. “Yes, you can take classes, but obviously they are aware from the previous how many years that he doesn’t have the money to take classes, nor does he have the money to live on Yale’s campus or anywhere else in the Yale area. He is again depending on the kindness of others.”
After Khan was arrested, the UWC suspended its investigation into the sexual misconduct complaints against him until the allegations had worked their way through the criminal justice system. On April 5, about a month after a jury acquitted Khan, the UWC resumed its inquiry, according to UWC documents obtained by the News. The email from Chun says that Khan is allowed to take classes at Yale until further notice from the UWC.
Chun’s email notes that Khan sent a letter to University President Peter Salovey on May 28 requesting that Yale lift his suspension.
“President Salovey has referred to me your May 28, 2018 letter, in which you request that Yale College lift the emergency suspension imposed on November 9, 2015. Because the criminal proceedings against you have ended and you have been found not guilty, I am removing your suspension,” the email states. “You, therefore, are eligible to enroll in Yale summer session if you wish to resume taking Yale courses. The removal of your suspension does not impact your case before the UWC, which will be adjudicated pursuant to the UWC Procedures.”
It remains unclear how long it will take the UWC to reach a verdict in Khan’s case. The committee’s rules say that evaluation of formal complaints should take “about 60 days,” except in certain extenuating circumstances, including when the “absence of a witness from campus” or the “complexity of the case” slows the process down. As of Thursday, 70 days had elapsed since the University reopened its investigation into the allegations against Khan.
Helen Price ’18, the co-founder of Unite Against Sexual Assault at Yale, said she is disappointed that Yale lifted Khan’s suspension rather than wait for the UWC proceedings to conclude.
“A ‘not guilty’ verdict just means there wasn’t enough evidence for a criminal conviction, which there rarely is with sexual assault,” Price said. “Yale’s decision clearly shows how they care more about misinformed public pressure and potential litigation than they do about removing rapists from campus.”
The last time Yale evaluated the status of a student facing criminal charges related to sexual misconduct was in 2005, when Gregory Korb ’10 was charged with sexual assault, among other offenses. A year after his arrest, Korb pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of assault in the third degree and threatening in the second degree, and received an 18-month suspended sentence, which he did not have to serve on the condition that he successfully perform an 18-month probation.
During his probation, Korb was not allowed to return to Yale’s campus. But he later completed his degree, graduating in 2010.
Britton O’Daly | firstname.lastname@example.org