The opinion of the court was delivered by: VINCENT L. BRODERICK
VINCENT L. BRODERICK, U.S.D.J.
This case involved the question of the appropriate role of the judiciary in student disciplinary matters. It now concerns the question of whether or not the file in the case should be sealed so that the identity of the individuals and entities involved will not become public. I hold that it should be. The caption of this case is amended to read as above and will be corrected on the docket and other future filings. The file in this case including all documents therein shall be sealed.
Various parties to this case - and others as well - might be unnecessarily injured if charges untested and unproven contained in the file become public knowledge. The public may learn the nature of the issues presented in this case, which has been settled, without potentially harmful revelation of the names.
The incidents leading to this litigation began with a spree involving alcohol abuse initiated off campus. Most if not all of the individuals involved were students of "C" College. Students returned to a coeducational dormitory, where "A" allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with "D." "B" then allegedly took undergarments of "D" and hid them in a wooded area.
Investigators for the College then interviewed "D". "A", "B" and others were questioned several times and some of them disciplined for giving inconsistent versions of the events.
While expulsion of "A" and suspension for one semester of "B" were under consideration, "A" and "B" were given less than two hours to decide whether or not "A" would voluntarily withdraw and "B" would voluntarily accept disciplinary community service. Both agreed, but thereafter brought suit in this court against the College and "D," invoking diversity jurisdiction. They sought injunctive relief and damages.
In order to protect all of the interests at stake, and to minimize the risk of judicial involvement, it is important that institutions make the most effective possible efforts to implement or develop procedures which will minimize the many risks inherent in such situations. These risks include failing to exercise discipline where harmful acts occur, encouraging or pursuing false or malicious charges, or permitting investigations or internal adjudications to turn into abusive events.
New York law prohibits "arbitrary" action "by analogy to the law of associations, on the basis of a supposed contract between university and student, or simply as a matter of essential fairness in the somewhat one-sided relationship between the institution and the individual . . ." where discipline imposed by a private educational institution results in suspension or expulsion. Tedeschi v. Wagner College, 49 N.Y.2d 652, 660, 427 N.Y.S.2d 760, 762, 404 N.E.2d 1302 (1980), Olsson v. Board of Higher Education, 49 N.Y.2d 408, 426 N.Y.S.2d 248, 402 N.E.2d 1150 (1980); see Garg v. Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, 747 F. Supp. 231, 236 (SDNY 1990); Susan M. v. New York Law School, 76 N.Y.2d 241, 246, 556 N.E.2d 1104, 1107, 557 N.Y.S.2d 297, 300 (1990); Matter of Levy, 88 ...