Saifullah Khan filed a lawsuit against Yale last month, alleging that the University violated his Title IX rights in the process that followed a Yale undergraduate’s accusation that Khan sexually assaulted her in October 2015.
Though acquitted of sexual assault charges in criminal court in March 2018, Khan was found responsible for the sexual assault by the Yale’s University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct and was expelled from Yale last January. The lawsuit — which seeks $110 million in damages — alleges that Yale denied Khan the education it promised and harmed his reputation.
“As a direct and proximate result of the acts and omissions herein complained of, Mr. Khan has lost his opportunity to complete his educations at Yale, has suffered a breach of contract that Yale entered into with him, has suffered a breach of his right to privacy, which has resulted in enormous reputational harm, and has suffered severe emotional distress,” read the complaint, filed on Dec. 13.
In an email to the News, University spokeswoman Karen Peart said that the University does not comment on pending litigation.
After the initial allegation of sexual assault, Khan was first suspended in November 2015 by Yale. Although the UWC began a formal proceeding into the complaint shortly after, a formal hearing was delayed as Khan awaited a verdict for two and a half years in criminal court. In May 2018, the UWC resumed its hearing process after Khan was acquitted on four counts of sexual assault.
The complaint states that Khan actively sought readmission throughout the 2017—18 academic year following his acquittal, but that the University “generally ignored” his efforts. When Khan was permitted to re-enroll at Yale in the fall of 2018 while the UWC continued its proceedings, the complaint further claims that he was “treated as though he was not welcome on campus.”
“The campus is also in the thrall of various claims of identity entitlement, rendering the campus less a place of unbridled intellectual stimulation and more a smug hothouse catering to social justice warriors intent on remaking the world in their own image,” the complaint states.
Three days after the News published new accusations of sexual assault against Khan, Dean of College Marvin Chun suspended Khan for the second time in October 2018. Though Khan contested the emergency suspension in a suit against Yale, the resulting expulsion from the UWC’s hearing in November during Khan’s suspension led him to withdraw his lawsuit.
According to the complaint, the 2018 UWC hearing “failed to afford [Khan] the elementary due process required by Title IX” and referred to the case as a “mere sham.” While Khan cross-examined his accuser at his criminal trial they were not required to attend the UWC hearing and Skyped in instead. Compared to criminal courts — which use a “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard — Yale uses a lower standard of proof, typical at most colleges and universities. To be found guilty under Yale’s standards there must be a greater than 50 percent likelihood that the accused committed the crime. Khan’s attorney Norm Pattis criticized Yale’s methods in a January 2019 blog post.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the process Yale used to engage in its fact-finding was fatally flawed,” Pattis said in the post.
Khan’s current lawsuit was alluded to in Pattis’ January post where he initially wrote that Khan would “turn to the federal courts for relief” if Yale did not grant Khan an appeal to the UWC. In the post, Pattis wrote that Khan “still wants to finish his degree at Yale.”
Pattis did not immediately respond to the News’ request for comment.
The complaint also claims that the University’s actions have caused Khan — a citizen of Afghanistan — to be “subject to immediate deportation.” The complaint states that Khan “faces grave physical danger” in Afghanistan as his family sought “refuge in Pakistan due to the hostility of the Taliban.”
Khan was originally a member of the Yale class of 2016.
Alayna Lee | firstname.lastname@example.org
This article has been updated to reflect the version that ran in print on Jan. 13.