Students Had BDSM Sex. Male Says He Obeyed Safe Word. GMU Agreed, Expelled Him Anyway.

Student expelled for sexual misconduct prevails in lawsuit against George Mason University.

George Mason University expelled a male student engaged in a BDSM relationship with a young woman—even though the panel agreed their disputed sexual encounter was consensual because he stopped when he heard the safe word.

That outcome didn’t satisfy an assistant dean of students, so the administrator improperly granted an appeal and then reversed the panel’s decision himself. That administrator, Brent Ericson, conceded that he “had already prejudged the appeal and decided to find plaintiff responsible for sexual assault.” He did so, and the student was expelled.

Also notable: the expelled student, identified as “John Doe,” was found guilty of misconduct relating to other encounters with his then-girlfriend “Jane Roe,” who was not a student at GMU. But he was never informed that these encounters were in dispute, and thus never had an opportunity to prove his innocence.

The case is a complicated one, given the nature of Doe and Roe’s relationship. They were engaged in BDSM, which means the usual consent standards don’t apply in quite the same way. They had a preexisting agreement that saying the word “stop,” for instance, did not mean that either party was withdrawing consent. Instead, their safe word was “red.” If Roe used the word “red,” Doe was supposed to cease the activity.

On October 27, 2013, the two were engaged in such activity when Roe pushed Doe away. He asked whether she wanted to continue. She replied, “I don’t know,” and he continued anyway, since she didn’t use the safe word.

Read full article on Reason