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Vengalattore v. Cornell University

CASE: Dr. Mukund Vengalattore v. Cornell University and U.S. Dept. of Education

STATUS: Active

NCLA ROLE: Counsel


ORIGINAL COURT: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York

DECIDING COURT: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

OPENED: September 18, 2018

AGENCIES: Department of Education


Due Process Violations

The due process of law guarantees a right to be held to account only through the processes of an impartial court—something administrative tribunals violate every day.

Guidance Abuse

Agency guidance is easier to promulgate than formal rules and regulations, so agencies prefer to issue it. Such “guidance” supplies relatively informal indications of how an agency interprets rules and statutes. Although guidance is not permitted to bind Americans (unlike laws made by elected legislators), agencies treat guidance as binding and courts often fail to stop them.

Dr. Vengalattore was a tenure-track professor of physics at Cornell University with an impressive history of conducting ground-breaking research. After a graduate student left his program for academic reasons, the student falsely accused Dr. Vengalattore of sexual harassment.

Following mandatory “guidance” from the U.S. Department of Education, Cornell had set up a campus disciplinary process that dispensed with every fundamental notion of due process. Dr. Vengalattore was not allowed to see the accusations against him, much less challenge the “evidence” collected by the college, provide evidence of his innocence, confront his accuser, or even defend himself at a hearing.

Unable to prove his innocence in this unfair process, Dr. Vengalattore was denied tenure, disciplined by Cornell, and faced the loss of his promising career. NCLA sued Cornell for its violations of due process, but also the Department of Education for forcing Cornell to adopt such an unfair process.

On June 2, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that university discrimination against faculty on the basis of sex is subject to suit under Title IX. The majority and concurring opinions expressed shock at the lack of due process and general treatment of Dr. Mukund Vengalattore by Cornell University. NCLA applauds the Second Circuit for strongly condemning the threats to due process and academic freedom embodied by Title IX Kangaroo Courts in higher education.

Dr. Mukund Vengalattore, Plaintiff

Casey Norman
Litigation Counsel
Zhonette Brown
General Counsel and Senior Litigation Counsel
Kaitlyn Schiraldi
Staff Attorney

Plaintiff's Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Cornell University's Motion for Summary Judgement

March 13, 2024 | Read More

Answer to Second Amended Complaint

October 7, 2022 | Read More

Second Amended Complaint

September 23, 2022 | Read More

Opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

June 2, 2022 | Read More

Letter Pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 28(j)

April 8, 2022 | Read More


NCLA Demands Trial to Prove Ex-Professor’s Case Against Cornell’s Title IX Kangaroo Court

March 14, 2024 | Read More

NCLA Wins Appeal: Second Cir. Rejects Cornell’s Effort to Strip Due Process Rights from Faculty in Title IX Hearing

June 2, 2022 | Read More

NCLA Releases Case Video Showing How Cornell’s Title IX Kangaroo Courts Ruin Lives

April 2, 2021 | Read More

NCLA Second Circuit Brief Rebuts Cornell and Dept. of Educ. Efforts to Deny Title IX Hearing Rights

January 5, 2021

NCLA Appeals NDNY Ruling that Ignored Ex-Cornell Prof’s Claim for Due Process in Title IX Hearing

August 21, 2020 | Read More


Title IX: A shield for all or a weapon against the accused?


March 20, 2024

New Civil Liberties Alliance Files Amicus Brief in Second Circuit Against Cornell Effort to Discriminate Against Male Faculty


February 7, 2023

The Changes to Title IX Policy, Harriet Hageman


February 7, 2023




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