This post has been updated to reflect accurate information of Dean Clark and Vice Chancellor Delaney’s titles. March 31, 2015
This post has been updated to reflect the sources wishes to remain anonymous. April 1, 2015
By Cameron Morgan, Chattanooga, Tenn. — In light of recent Title IX investigations into the University’s conduct regarding sexual assault and harassment cases on campus, another student has come forward suggesting that Chad Clark, associate dean of students, mishandled and changed her testimony in her assault case this summer.
After evidence in the Corey Mock case was called into question on similar ground that Molly Morris’ testimony was changed by Clark, Patrick felt the need to come forward.
“I didn’t know that I could, but I read that VICE article, and it reminded me so much of my own situation,” said TP.
ABOUT THE CASE
TP was referred to Clark after her boyfriend assaulted her on campus and both were arrested, July 5, 2014.
“I was messing with his phone,” TP said about the incident. “I remember he was talking to a few girls and I called him out on it.”
“He began snapping at me, and then he put his hands on me. He had me pinned down and then began choking me. I still have a scar across my arm.”
According to the incident report by campus police, officers arrived on the scene after a roommate in the male’s apartment called. They found her boyfriend outside, while TP stayed in the apartment. Her boyfriend admitted to police to causing injury to TP, and visible marks were noted on the back of his hands.
While on the scene, police observed marks on Patrick around her throat. She told police “that [her boyfriend] held her down, slammed her on the floor and placed his hands around her neck and covered her mouth,” as recorded in the report.
Because TP admitted to having kicked at her boyfriend, “police were unable to establish a primary aggressor and took [both parties] into custody.”
When asked why she kicked her boyfriend, TP responded, “Of course I kicked him, I was trying to get him off of me. I’m 5 feet, 110 pounds, and he’s over 6 feet.”
Due to the nature of the arrest, campus police were unable to say anything further about the case.
Because both students were arrested, a city court case was conducted in late August and was thrown out on the grounds of implausibility, TP said. Both Patrick and her boyfriend at the time have since had their records expunged.
Since the incident happened on campus, Student Development was involved.
“I really wish it had been a normal trial and not through the University,” TP said.
In the case through Student Development, Patrick said that she was constantly treated as if she was guilty and suggests that Student Development treated her unfairly.
“In my first interview with Clark, he didn’t write down my testimony,” TP said. “He kept saying, ‘We’ll see where this goes,’ when I asked him if he needed to write any of it down. The only thing he did write down involved past incidents with my boyfriend where he had been abusive. I remember thinking that maybe he was trying to build a history for my case.”
The University Echo reached out to Clark to ask about the events of the case, but he deferred to Dean of Students Jim Hicks who responded in email that they were unable to comment, as the case “can involve the educational records of multiple students.”
Ultimately Hicks stressed in an additional correspondence on the general conduct of the review boards that the University makes “every attempt to conduct fair and impartial investigations that both supports the complainant and affords the respondent the rights that the student is due. We take this responsibility very seriously and we spend a lot of time and effort to insure we complete that mission.”
“Throughout the entire thing, he [Clark] also kept suggesting that I antagonized my boyfriend. And in the hearing, I started to question, ‘Was it my fault?,’” said TP.
TP says that she was recommended to the Women’s Center but found it unhelpful.
Ultimately, both TP and her boyfriend were found guilty of breaking the Student Code of Conduct.
In the sanction letter from Clark, he cited the Student Code of Conduct’s policy on physical harm when explaining Patrick’s ruling:
5) Causing physical harm to any person (including oneself); endangering the health or safety of any person (including oneself); engaging in conduct that causes a reasonable person to fear harm to his/her health or safety; or making an oral or written statement (including electronically) that an objectively reasonable person hearing or reading the statement would interpret as a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals, although the speaker need not mean to carry out the act of unlawful violence in order to constitute a violation of this rule.
TP faced a year suspension from the University and a loss of privileges to live on campus and her scholarships.
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
I am quite confused. I did not cause bodily harm to another student, nor did I attack this student. I defended myself when [redacted] attacked me, as I believed he had full intentions of ending my life or severely harming me.
Clark responded that she should appeal through Vice Chancellor John Delaney.
According to TP, Delaney, who, in light of the Criminal Court decision and based on personal experience with TP, overturned Clark’s ruling.
Both Clark and Delaney were asked to comment on the case but refused, citing student confidentiality under FERPA.
When asked to comment on the general conduct of the student review board, Dean of Students Jim Hicks corresponded through email.
“When [Dean Clark and I] interview complainants, we make every attempt to treat them with care and respect,” Hicks writes. “We do not interview any complainant without making sure they know that they can have a support person or persons with them. This person could be someone from the Women’s Center or another individual (including an attorney) selected by the student.”
When asked about the general results of sexual assault cases, Hick responded, “I cannot remember a case where a respondent [the accused] has been found responsible of a sexual assault where that student was not either suspended or dismissed. There have been cases where the respondent was found not responsible.”
When asked about the potential loss or mishandling of testimony in cases of this nature, Hicks wrote, “If there is a concern with the due process rights of either the complainant or the respondent after the hearing has occurred, that is a matter for an appeal and both the complainant and the respondent have the right to appeal decisions in hearings involving violations of our sexual misconduct policy.”
Since other students have come forward, TP said she is now considering an appeal under Title IX.