After being accused of sexual misconduct and facing punishment by the university without fair trial, Thomas Klocke committed suicide, according to a lawsuit by his father.
Thomas Klocke, a student at the University of Texas at Arlington, killed himself on June 2, a few days after the university punished him for allegedly making anti-gay comments to a fellow gay student. 24-year-old Klocke repeatedly denied the accusations at that time and claimed he was the one being harassed but never received a fair hearing.
“This is a case that highlights the really epidemic problem that we’re seeing across the country about what happens when a college violates the legal rights of a student who’s been accused of misconduct,” said Kenneth Chaiken, an attorney for the deceased’s father, Wayne Klocke. “The accused student can really suffer life-altering consequences — in this case of the most tragic form, which was the decision to take his own life.”
Under the pretext of Title IX, the Obama administration forced universities to deny male students their due process rights when they’re accused of sexual misconduct.
The lawsuit was reported by Watchdog.org and alleges that UT-Arlington was unsuccessful in complying with the watered-down due process protections ensured by Title IX and judged on its own policies. It also claims that Thomas was the one discriminated against on the basis of his sex.
A spokesperson for the university, Teresa Schnyder said the university “followed its policies and procedures.” However, she refused to give any details regarding the lawsuit.
“This is a tragic situation and we express our deepest condolences to the family for their loss,” Ms. Schnyder said. “The welfare of our students is our highest priority. Any loss is a heartbreaking one for our entire community.”
Thomas was only one credit short of graduating at the time of the incident. Fellow student Nicholas Watson accused him of typing “gays should die” on the web browser of his laptop in the middle of a May 19 class. Mr. Watson then responded on his own laptop, typing, “I’m gay.” To this, Mr. Watson says, Thomas faked a yawn and said, “Well then you’re a f—t.”
Following this exchange of words, Mr. Watson says he asked Thomas to leave the classroom, to which Thomas allegedly replied, “You should consider killing yourself.”
Thomas refuted these claims in a meeting with a university administrator on May 23. He explained that Mr. Watson made sexual advances, stared at him continuously and called him beautiful, even after he typed into his laptop, “stop – I’m straight.” Thomas says he had a hard time concentrating after that and moved to the opposite side of the classroom.
He rejected Mr. Watson’s allegations that he ever typed “gays should die.”
The lawsuit alleges that the rejected sexual advances may have compelled Mr. Watson to make up the story, possibly fearing the university’s policy against sexual harassment. In addition to the lawsuit against the university, Nicholas Watson is also being sued for defamatory statements.