In another case involving discipline of a USC student for alleged non-consensual sex with a fellow student, this decision holds that USC’s procedure for judging such disputes denies the accused student of fundamental fairness. When the student faces severe disciplinary sanctions and credibility of witnesses is key to adjudicating the claim, fundamental fairness requires that the university provides a mechanism by which the accused may cross-examine those witnesses, directly or indirectly, at a hearing in which the witnesses appear in person or by other means (such as means provided by technology like video conferencing) before a neutral adjudicator with the power independently to find facts and make credibility assessments. Because USC’s procedure did not allow for such cross-examination, it denied fundamental fairness, and the disciplinary decision had to be overturned.
California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 4 (Willhite, Acting P.J.); January 4, 2019; 30 Cal. App. 5th 1036