The University of Maine System has denied a male student’s claims of gender discrimination over his suspension during an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations at the University of Maine at Farmington.

UMS responded in a brief to a lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Bangor by the UMF student – referred to only as “John Doe” – who is facing accusations from several women that he physically and emotionally abused them.

The university system is also challenging his request to sue anonymously under Title IX, the federal law guaranteeing equal treatment in education regardless of sex.

“The University of Maine System has an obligation to protect our students from sexual violence and harassment that must be balanced with legal rights to due process,” spokesman Dan Demeritt said in a statement Friday evening. “The System has filed a response in U.S. District Court detailing the process and accommodations that have been afforded the plaintiff and defends the interim suspension during its ongoing review of allegations of behavior that, if true, represent a disturbing potential threat to campus safety.”

Doe has asked the court for an injunction to force UMF to allow him to return to campus — a request the university system opposed in its brief Friday.

Attorneys for the male student could not be reached for comment Saturday.


In his lawsuit, the student said the school was wrong to suspend him over new allegations after already having cleared him in a prior investigation. He also said that he himself was sexually assaulted at the school and that UMF didn’t adequately respond.

In 2018, Doe received a settlement from the university for wages lost when officials refused to allow him to return to a campus job after the internal investigation cleared him.

But in January 2019, more women came forward, including some who brought their allegations to the Bangor Daily News. They told similar stories of his behavior, and said the university system hadn’t done enough to protect them or investigate their claims.

Emails and letters provided Friday by the university system in its response to the lawsuit show administrators handled these new claims by suspending Doe while at the same time coordinating the disciplinary process with him, gathering evidence and scheduling phone calls and hearings.

On Friday, college officials also revealed details of reports from four women that caused them to suspend Doe from campus.

One woman, identified only as “Jane Roe 2,” told officials the male student held her in his room for 45 minutes while trying to sexually assault her, according to the UMS legal brief. Other women said he threatened suicide as a way of maintaining contact with them.

Universities nationwide are working to balance due process and campus safety. More and more survivors are coming forward, but recent years have also seen a backlash from accused students, some of whom have sued schools and claimed their cases weren’t heard fairly.

The investigation of the latest allegations against the male student is continuing, according to UMS.

Comments are not available on this story.