Stephen F. Austin University recently agreed to settle a lawsuit involving a handful of students who alleged their 14th right of amendment had been violated.
Earlier this week, Stephen F. Austin University announced that it had reached a settlement with six students who filed a lawsuit after the school allegedly violated their 14th due process amendment rights. The lawsuit arose out of an "incident in which the six students were accused of filing a false report against an African American student".
The agreement was announced on Thursday morning, but details have not yet been released. Prior to the settlement, the lawsuit stated: "This is due process and the truth."
The lawsuit itself was against SFA, the Board of Regents, and Dr. Scott Gordon, the school president, submitted. According to the lawsuit, the accused students "were deprived of their constitutional process rights due to falsehood, misrepresentation and a rush to convict an incident on campus involving multiple SFA students on or about September 14, 2020 . ”
According to Stephen F. Austin University, a student falsely reported that "Christin Evans, a 17-year-old freshman and SFA cheerleader, tried to stab someone with scissors." As a result of the allegations, campus police stormed at 3pm In the morning in her dormitory, "with guns drawn while she slept." Commenting on the incident during a press conference, SFA Police Chief John Fields said that his three officers "who assisted with the call were following the protocol as they saw it for the situation". He added that his officers did not go into the room "like the wild, wild west" as Evans claimed. Instead, he said his officers "knocked four times on Evans' door before a roommate let them in through her door." He added:
“Only one officer had an unpadded weapon. It was night and there was no light in the room and he had a light on his weapon. At no point has he deliberately tried to bring it up on the subject. "
Statue of the judge; Image by William Cho, via Pixabay.com.
Fields went on to say that the "situation de-escalated when Evans fell asleep in her bed," adding that the incident "was not a racially motivated incident because some black women were involved". He said officers also wore body cameras during the incident, and his office "asked parents to allow the body camera to be released." He added, "Once this is published everyone will see exactly what happened."
Harris Consulting's Erika Harris agreed that the body cam footage will show what really happened. Speaking on behalf of the university, she said, “The body cam video will help paint a very different picture than what was previously reported about the incident in Evans' dormitory, particularly that the police did not use guns rushed into her room drawn. "
Randall Kallinen, Evans' attorney, said the family did not see the body cam footage, despite having requested the video twice so far. The family would like to see the footage before agreeing to release it.
In the context of the lawsuit, the accused students argued that the "university and its representatives had publicly labeled them" perpetrators "and" suspects "and guaranteed that they would be disciplined. In addition, students argued that the school "took two weeks to complete its own investigation but did not give them enough time to prepare to hear". It found that students were only given "2-3 days to prepare for their defense". The suit further stated:
However, SFA and its agents refuse to adequately disclose to plaintiffs which SFA rules they have violated, refuse to provide any relevant evidence related to the incident, including video recordings and testimony, and refuse to allow plaintiffs adequate time to prepare to respond to the allegations against them. "
Stephen F. Austin University reaches an agreement with 6 students in lawsuit
Accused students in the SFA lawsuit for misreporting an incident against the school