Judge Blocks Expulsion of Duke Student Accused of Rape

A North Carolina judge has ruled that Duke University cannot officially expel student Lewis McLeod yet. In his suit, filed in May, McLeod demanded that the school issue him a degree on the claim that he didn't get a fair hearing for sexually assaulting a fellow classmate, and that his subsequent expulsion prevented him from starting his job at a fancy Wall Street investment thingamabob.

On the one hand, the judge ruled that Duke doesn't have to give McLeod a degree at this particular moment (it's a preliminary injunction). On the other, he said that Duke cannot officially expel McLeod until he has a trial outside of the college disciplinary hearing that found him guilty in the first place.

"The plaintiff has demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits as to his contentions that the defendant has breached, violated, or otherwise deprived the plaintiff of material rights related to the misconduct allegations against him and the resulting disciplinary process addressing such allegations," the judge wrote.

According to the The Chronicle, Duke issued the following statement about the ruling:

"We are pleased the Court recognized the need to preserve the integrity of Duke's decision not to issue a degree at this point in the lawsuit. Duke follows federal legal requirements for complaints of student sexual misconduct and works very hard to make sure the process is fair and just in every case."

McLeod's lawyer says that though his visa to live in the US has expired (McLeod is from Australia), his grace period to stay lasts until July 11.

Image via Nan Cheng-Tsai/Flickr