Though acquitted of sexual assault charges in criminal court last March, Saifullah Khan was expelled from Yale Wednesday after the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct found Khan responsible for sexually assaulting a Yale undergraduate in October 2015, according to a blog post by his attorney Norm Pattis.
Yale College Dean Marvin Chun and University spokesman Tom Conroy declined to comment on student disciplinary matters.
Khan was first suspended by Yale in November 2015 for allegedly sexually assaulting a female undergraduate student after the 2015 Yale Symphony Orchestra Halloween show. Days later, Khan was arrested by Yale police, and the UWC initiated a formal proceeding into the complaint. However, the UWC delayed a formal hearing as Khan awaited a verdict for two and a half years in criminal court.
In March 2018, Khan was acquitted on four counts of sexual assault, drawing national attention as college rape cases are rarely tried in court. In May, the UWC resumed its hearing process and Khan was permitted to re-enroll at Yale in the fall as the UWC continued its proceedings. Like most colleges and universities, Yale uses a lower standard of proof — a “preponderance of the evidence” — compared to criminal courts, which use a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard. Under Yale’s standard, there must be a greater than 50 percent likelihood that the accused committed the crime in order to be found guilty.
But on Oct. 7 — three days after the News published new accusations of sexual assault against Khan — Chun suspended Khan for the second time. On Oct. 10, Khan filed a suit against Yale contesting the emergency suspension and demanding that he be reinstated. The UWC held a hearing on the 2015 complaint on Nov. 6 during Khan’s suspension.
According to a notice from the Connecticut Judicial Branch obtained by the News, Khan withdrew his lawsuit against Yale on Jan. 3. The expulsion has made Khan’s hearing “moot,” Pattis wrote in his blog post.
Still, Khan will request an appeal to the UWC, according to Pattis’ blog post, but will “likely lose the appeal” as he cannot challenge the UWC’s finding. According to UWC policy, the only grounds for appeal are procedural errors or the discovery of relevant facts that were unavailable prior to the hearing. Khan will “turn to the federal courts for relief” if Yale does not grant an appeal, according to Pattis’ post.
“Mr. Khan is now expelled and will have to fight his way back into Yale by way of the courts in lengthier proceedings,” Pattis said in his blog post. “… He still believes in justice, and, for reasons that escape me, still wants to finish his degree at Yale.”
In his post, Pattis sharply criticized Yale’s “fatally flawed” fact-finding process and argued that Khan was deprived of his due process rights during the UWC hearing. While Khan cross-examined his accuser at his criminal trial, his accuser was not required to attend the UWC hearing and Skyped in instead.
Last summer, an online petition calling on Yale not to readmit Khan garnered over 77,000 signatures.
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