Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1996-1997 index

Distributed May 20, 1997
Contact: Mark Nickel

OCR complaint withdrawn

Parties in disciplinary case resolve disputes; OCR complaint is withdrawn

A complaint before the Office of Civil Rights regarding a disciplinary case at Brown has been withdrawn. The parties have resolved their disputes privately and have asked OCR to take no further action in its investigation.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- A complaint that had been brought before the Office of Civil Rights regarding a disciplinary case at Brown University has been withdrawn, according to Jeffrey A. Newman, the complainant's attorney. The complaint had charged that a decision last fall by the University Disciplinary Council not to hear a case of alleged sexual misconduct had violated the Title IX rights of a female student.

In a statement delivered to the Office of Civil Rights on Friday, May 9, 1997, the complainant said:

A claim filed by me ... on behalf of my daughter ... is currently pending before the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education against Brown University. I am hereby, with the concurrence of my daughter, withdrawing the complaint against Brown University and requesting that OCR refrain from taking any further action on this matter. All of the parties have decided to resolve this matter privately.

The complainant has also withdrawn statements made regarding Professor Martha Joukowsky's involvement in the case, as well as the role of Artemis A. W. Joukowsky, chancellor of Brown University, who was vice chancellor at the time of the complaint:

In addition to withdrawing the complaint against Brown University, we are also withdrawing all statements made by us regarding the Joukowskys (Martha and Artemis), which we believed to be true at the time. Those statements were based on hearsay information and we do hereby withdraw those statements and any inferences that may be made therefrom. We acknowledge that we have no personal knowledge or information about the statements concerning Martha Joukowsky which were made in the course of the OCR review. We regret that such statements, which were not based on independent evidence, may have been inaccurate and/or created misimpressions. We further regret any negative connotations such statements or questions may have raised regarding the personal integrity of either of the Joukowskys or the professional work of Professor Joukowsky. It was not our intention to do so.

The story was covered locally by the student newspaper The Brown Daily Herald, by The Providence Phoenix and The Boston Phoenix and nationally by the Chronicle of Higher Education, which disclosed the male student's name based on information from anonymous "sources directly involved in the case." John A. Tarantino, counsel to the male student, reported earlier that all disputes between the two students had been resolved to the mutual satisfaction of both parties. A statement released by Tarantino on Wednesday, May 7, 1997, said, in part:

The parties have been distressed by the sensational and inaccurate portrayal of the relationship between these two students. It is their hope that the announcement of this resolution will end the exaggerated and inaccurate media accounts of what happened in their relationship.

In an effort to avoid any speculation as to the parties' motives or incentives to reach an amicable resolution of their disputes, the parties want to make it clear that no financial settlement was sought or offered by any of the parties. Rather, both of the parties simply want to put this matter behind them, to focus on their studies and to realize the potential that each has for a successful and fulfilling career.

"The University is pleased that the parties have been able to resolve their disputes privately and that the complaint has been withdrawn," said Laura Freid, executive vice president for external affairs.