Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

Colorado College students protest suspension for “sexual misconduct”

The Gazette of Colorado Springs reports that two Colorado College hockey players – Cody Lampl and Derek Patrosso – suspended in December for unexplained reasons told The Gazette that the penalties were for sexual misconduct and lying. 

Excerpts from this article follow. This Colorado College case provides insight as to how colleges handle issues relating to “sexual misconduct” which “bypass” formal involvement of the criminal justice system. The impact on students affected by this process is clearly given in this article. Readers are encouraged to click the article link and scroll down the article and review reader input.

Lampl and Patrosso said they are innocent of sexual misconduct. Lampl was suspended until 2009. Patrosso returned to school and the hockey team March 12.

Patrosso will try to help CC win a national title. Lampl plans to return to school but is angry that the college’s handling of his suspension has wrongly branded him a “rapist.”

“That’s not who I am and what I did,” Lampl told The Gazette. Friends and family wrote affidavits in support of Lampl when he unsuccessfully appealed the suspension.

The Pathfinder, CC’s student handbook, gives school President Dick Celeste and school administrators wide latitude in punishing students for conduct they deem contrary to the best interests of the school.

The handbook says, in part, “Colorado College reserves the right to suspend or dismiss any student whose conduct is regarded as being in conflict with the best interests of the college or in violation of its Code of Conduct.”

That doesn’t mean interested parties always agree with the college’s decisions, and Lampl said he thought his punishment was unfair given his version of the events.

Lampl, 21, said he, an 18-year-old recruit and a 19-year-old female CC student engaged in consensual sex after a party Nov. 18.

The woman could not be reached for comment. She has not filed a complaint with Colorado Springs police. Her parents said she was unavailable and they would all like to move on. The Gazette usually does not name people who might have been victims of sexual assault without their consent.

The recruit declined comment on the incident, except to say he had the woman’s consent. “Yes, definitely,” he said. The Gazette is not naming the recruit because he is not a CC student and not subject to CC discipline.
A few hours after the threesome, Patrosso and the woman had consensual sex, Patrosso said.When CC officials learned of the episode, Lampl said, they summoned Lampl and Patrosso for a meeting with Celeste. According to Lampl, Celeste said: “What you guys did is wrong. This isn’t what we do at CC.”

Initially, Lampl said, he and Patrosso tried to keep the recruit out of the discussion. That eventually led to the accusation of lying.

Subsequently, Lampl said, he, Patrosso and the woman scheduled a second meeting with Celeste to try to refute the suggestion that the woman did not consent to sex. Lampl said that when they arrived, Celeste was not there. CC attorney Chris Melcher and CC’s sexual assault response coordinator Heather Horton met the three students.
Lampl said Melcher and Horton insisted on meeting with the students individually.

Lampl said he, Patrosso and the woman talked after the three individual meetings. Lampl said the woman told him that Melcher and Horton asked her if she consented to sex and she told them she had.

Asked by The Gazette to describe the conversation with the woman and the recruit in which consent was given, Lampl said, “We were talking. She was like, ‘I really want to hook up with you.’ And I’m like, ‘Well, my friend’s here with me.’ And she’s like, ‘No, no. I want him to stay,’ and stuff like that.”

No charges have been filed with the Colorado Springs Police Department, but Detective Payton Patterson spoke with CC administrators to check on rumors of sexual assault involving student athletes.

…on page 54 of The Pathfinder, in the section on sexual misconduct, the policy says, “The college reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary and appropriate to respond to a charge of sexual misconduct in order to protect students’ safety, physical and mental wellbeing, and individual rights. Such measures include, but are not limited to, immediate modification of living arrangements, summary removal from campus pending a hearing, and reporting to the local police.”

CC’s Turnis declined to explain why the school did not invoke its right to report the information in this case to police.

Patterson recorded his phone conversation with Melcher and then wrote in his report that Melcher told him there was not a problem.

“Chris Melcher told me that there is nothing to hide here,” Patterson wrote. “No one has claimed and no one has brought to his attention that the alleged crime occurred. . . . Chris Melcher said he will assure me and the folks that I will be talking to that no one has brought any information to their attention that indicates or even suggests (inaudible segment) and if that changes, ‘I will call you or I won’t call you. I’ll tell the student to file a complaint.’”

Horton said the school’s general policy has “three classes of behavior” that could be deemed inappropriate and applies to all members of the CC community.

“The first one is just unwanted sexual contact,” Horton said. “That can obviously be a fairly broad range of things, from unwanted touch all the way up to unwanted intercourse. The second class of behavior is behavior of a sexual nature that does not involve physical contact, so that might be things like lewd or harassing kinds of sexual statements or Peeping Tom kind of behavior, those kinds of things. And then, the third class of behavior is called intimate partner violence. So, that’s violence that occurs within the context of a couple relationship.”
Horton and the school’s handbook stress the issue of “active consent.”

The school’s sexual misconduct policy states in part that, “all sexual contact between students must be with each person’s active consent. ‘Active consent’ means that each person involved in sexual contact not only agrees to the sexual activity but also agrees to such activity freely and knowingly. A person who has been threatened or whose judgment is substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol or by other physical or mental impairment cannot, by definition, give consent to sexual contact. It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual contact to obtain consent from the other person and to determine whether such consent is freely and knowingly given.”

Lampl said he had been drinking at the party, but he said he thought the woman was coherent when the key conversation occurred. Eight people who attended the party signed affidavits in support of Lampl. The eight included Lampl’s parents, five CC friends (including two women) and a non-CC friend. He said all of them attested to the woman’s behavior and level of coherence the night of the party.

Lampl said school leaders did not want to accept that the woman would willingly consent to, much less suggest, sex with multiple partners.

“I’m not going to apologize for that because then it looks like I did something,” Lampl said in the interview with The Gazette. “Why would I do that? I would rather not come back here. I’m not going to bite the bullet when it comes to being perceived as a rapist. Even though they said, ‘There’s no rape here’ – but the words they use imply that. That’s scum of the earth to me. That’s not who I am and what I did.”
Prior to the suspension, Lampl was on track to graduate with degrees in history and education.

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Barry M. Dank aka the dankprofessorTM
© Copyright 2008

March 21, 2008 - Posted by | Colorado College, consensual relationships, ethics, higher education, rape, sex, sexual policing, sexual politics

1 Comment »

  1. [...] just published a post on how Colorado College had demeaned and degraded two of their hockey players in regards to these [...]

    Pingback by College runs amok « Dankprofessor’s Weblog | April 1, 2008 | Reply


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