It seems a lot of organizations and institutions throw due process out the window when someone accuses a male of sexual deviance. However, they should adhere to Constitutional law—especially when it all ends in suicide.
Case in point: The University of Texas (Arlington) forewent their own rules & regulations in order to condemn a male student looking at a sexual-harassment claim. Upon the college’s decision, the young man took his own life. As a result, the deceased student’s father, a lawyer, is suing the school for dismissing his kid’s rights under Title IX.
Upon all this, may UTA (or anyone dismissing the law for popular opinion) never forget Thomas Klocke. Nicholas Matthew Watson, a homosexual student whose name was unbeknownst to Klocke at the time of the initial incident, claimed Klocke put gay-hating words on his computer while school was in session. Klocke staunchly stood by his innocence—the investigative administrator corroborated Klocke’s position—but the school took Watson’s side.
Watson, who’s looking at defamation and whatever else, said that during May 2016, Klocke brought up “privilege” in a class discussion then typed “gays should die” in his search engine. Watson opened his computer and did the same but typed “I’m gay.”
In this supposed, silent standoff, Watson said Klocke simulated a yawn while saying, “Well, then you’re a faggot” in a silent breath. Watson allegedly suggested to Klocke to exit the classroom. He also claimed Klocke said, “You should consider killing yourself.”
Watson apparently felt so uneasy, he reported it all to the professor upon class ending. The professor supposedly referred the would-be victim to student-support services. However, there’s no proof backing up the professor ever being involved. Klocke Attorney Kenneth Chaiken explained the professor did not give a statement, which further adds to the incident never happening.
Dropping The Legal Ball
Klocke countered that entire accusation with having Watson coming onto him in an inappropriate way—Klocke gave no indications of interest. Not only were Watson’s attempts unwanted/unwarranted, but Klocke made it clear he was straight. The Klocke Family attorney filed a suit entailing that upon Thomas dismissing Watson’s behavior, Watson fabricated the claim to prevent himself from looking at sexual-deviance illegalities.
Rather than talking to support services, which the professor supposedly advised him to do, Watson apparently took his claim to Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Heather Snow—they were friends (so good he called her “Heather”). She instantly sided with Watson and assisted him in drawing up and filing a dispute. However, she failed to adhere to the university’s Title IX laws.
According to the Klocke Family lawsuit, while Snow alluded to the situation falling under sexual deviance, nobody brought the incident to UTA’s Title IX coordinator—a solid infraction of UTA’s rules & regulations in terms of sexual deviance (re: “[complaints] should be made to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators.”). Snow holds none of those titles.
Additionally, under UTA’s Title IX laws, the Title IX coordinator’s in charge of supervising any/all relevant incidents and arranging for an inspector. Said person is mandated to compile facts and disclose them only to the Title IX coordinator and deputy coordinator prior to further action being taken (e.g., court cases).
However, again, there was no due process for Klocke—even with a counter suit. If Snow did her job correctly, the Title IX coordinator would’ve ensured Klocke a fair trial and all things entailed. Snow ultimately took the law into her own hands and barred Klocke from due process and UTA rules & regulations.
Snow’s personal methods entailed crafting the complaint herself and involving the UTA Associate Director of Integrity Daniel Moore—he barred Klocke from going to the class in question. Unfortunately, that action deterred Klocke from his summer-graduation schedule.
On top of all that, school administrators failed to provide Klocke with Watson’s name. That’s in addition to them ordering Klocke to have no communication with fellow classmates—at all. (There’s no chance of obtaining pro-Klocke witnesses with those “rules.”)
Meanwhile, Nicholas Watson was allowed to attend class and acquire allies to back his claim. Watson did acquire a witness, but that student claimed all he heard was an unidentified “you should leave,” which is currently a mystery as to who said it. Further, that statement is plausible in both Klocke’s and Watson’s claims.
Despite Klocke’s request to continue the class and gather information that could potentially help his case, Associate Director Moore dismissed Klocke’s request to him. But Moore did arrange for Klocke to be served via a “summons letter” on May 20th. The Klocke Family lawsuit entails Moore neither communicated to Klocke of the situation being a Title IX incident (Moore’s job) nor conveyed to Klocke his Title IX rights. There was also the matter of Moore dropping the ball with not telling Klocke there would be no due process. Unbeknownst to Klocke, Snow oversaw the whole thing—to the extent of conspiring with Moore to assess a proper reprimand.
Oddly, Klocke was slapped with Title IX-infractions—purely on Watson’s claim. (What??) Klocke incurred one count of physical violence/threatening violence and a vague count of violating UTA’s no-harassment rule. (Let it be known Watson made no accusation of Klocke threatening violence.)
Because UTA handled the incident recklessly, the school dismissed its own rules & regulations—re: only upon due process (including the would-be defendant providing witnesses on their behalf) can charges be made.
In terms of Watson’s claim, Snow either wrote all or some of it—“a statement of evidence” against Klocke. Nobody gave Klocke a roster of witnesses—despite the summons letter conveying Moore would give him said information.
The summons letter also conveyed Klocke looking at expulsion due to the incident—but UTA law ensures defendants due process (not the case here). Instead, when Klocke conferenced with Moore on May 23rd, 2016, Klocke had his father, Wayne (a lawyer), accompany him. However, Moore not only disallowed Wayne to be in the meeting, Moore also failed to say Wayne could be privy to the meeting if Klocke waived confidentiality.
Klocke Family attorneys arranged for Snow & Moore to be removed prior to presenting the countersuit. They also obtained UTA information germane to the incident. The documentation entailed Moore’s annotations from his conference with Klocke. These availed Watson being a perfect stranger to Klocke before anything transpired. It was also a mystery to Klocke as to how he was known to Watson. As Klocke recalled everything to Moore, he said Watson happened to be beside him during that particular session. When Watson verbally communicated “beautiful” to Klocke, Klocke typed, “Stop—I’m straight” on his computer. Watson did the same, but typed, “I’m gay.”
Klocke stressed Watson gave him discomforting looks, so Klocke made the suggestion he “stop.” More, Klocke said he never played like he yawned and added it was him who asked Watson to vacate the classroom. Watson proceeded to engage with his phone and laugh. Upon 30-to-40 minutes after class started, Klocke, annoyed, got up and found another seat far from Watson. Klocke also claimed he never typed gay-hating words on his computer. Upon hearing all this, Moore neither followed UTA’s protocol nor advised Klocke to present a case to the school.
All Moore did was instruct Klocke to take a course test in a room by himself. Due to Klocke being barred from class, he scored very low. Moore did allow Klocke to participate in off-site group projects so long as Klocke never went to class. It wasn’t until after the Moore-Klocke discussion did Moore add he’d be talking to a witness and come to a decision.
It wasn’t Moore’s decision to make, as UTA Policy Nine dictates any refuted claims and charges potentially ending in expulsion are to be assessed via due process—again, Klocke wasn’t granted this.
Moore & Snow met up on May 24th to talk about the incident. Snow asked Moore about whether or not Klocke confirmed Watson’s claim—Moore told her, “not at all.” He added that Watson’s and Klocke’s version were anything but parallel—he didn’t elaborate on Klocke’s claim at all.
Moore did disclose to Snow he was lacking in sufficient proof to permanently bar Klocke from the course. Snow concurred and said, “…there isn’t enough to go off of.” Snow even suggested the bar be removed—but both Watson and Klocke sign a no-contact order. But Moore explained he’d find an alternate reason why Klocke shouldn’t be allowed in the classroom. Snow suggested Moore looking into the course’s summer availability. According to the lawsuit, the Moore-Snow exchange solidifies “that Thomas not only should remain excluded from the classroom, but that he should be excluded from the Course altogether, despite the fact there was not enough to go off of, to keep Thomas out of the classroom.”
Later, Moore informed Snow he “worked it out”—re: barring Klocke from class. Snow felt it was a “good resolution.” The following day, May 25th, Moore sent the summons letter entailing Klocke being guilty of harassment (despite there being no proof to back this allegation).
Moore and Snow had Klocke on disciplinary probation through his graduating UTA—it was to stay on his academic record! Further, and again, Klocke remained in the dark as to why he was deemed guilty when no proof was ever presented to him.
An Unfortunate Ending
Attorney Chaiken explained that somebody told Klocke this incident might bar him from getting his masters or higher degrees—but grad school was in Klocke’s educational plan.
Upon UTA condemning Klocke, he committed suicide. Klocke probably would’ve never endured all this had Moore & Snow adhered to UTA protocol—or at least allowed due process with a chance to legitimately plead his case.
Wayne Klocke feels the school discriminated against him due to his being a male associated with sexual-deviance charges—and Snow & Moore manipulated UTA’s Title IX in their favor.
Thomas wasn’t a student with mental illness—at all. He was very jovial and was confident in his post-graduation plans. Klocke Family Attorney Chaiken stressed why it’s crucial to have a well-rounded assessment of incidents like these. “When a college violates the legal rights of a student accused of misconduct, and its own rules for addressing such a complaint, the accused student can suffer life-altering consequences,” Attorney Chaiken wrote in an e-mail. “The important case of Klocke v. University of Texas at Arlington illustrates just how quickly and arbitrarily a college can act, leading to the most tragic outcome from the unimaginable stress and pain that an unfairly treated, accused student can suffer. It also serves to underscore why reforms in the campus-disciplinary process are so necessary, as recently recommended by the American College of Trial Lawyers, and why accountability through the judicial process may help to promote those reforms.”
UTA representatives chose to not communicate with the media upon being offered to comment.