USC reinstates former student to reopen Title IX investigation

USC has retracted its decision to expel Armaan Premjee following a case hearing with the Los Angeles County Superior Court on Dec. 18.

According to court documents the Daily Trojan obtained, in October, Premjee filed a petition for a writ of mandamus. This would appeal for a reevaluation of USC’s “biased” Title IX investigation into the sexual assault charges made against him after an incident involving another student in April 2017.

But due to recent California court rulings requiring new investigative procedures, Judge Elizabeth White granted USC’s request to halt legal proceedings on Premjee’s appeal at the hearing. The University decided to reinstate Premjee and reopen the investigation of the case to ensure fair and lawful adjudication under new regulations.

“Campus safety is the utmost priority for the University, and over the past few months, sweeping changes were made as we work to prevent all forms of misconduct on our campuses, to provide outstanding care to all students and to ensure we have policies and procedures that prioritize respect for our students and our entire University community,” USC wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan.

In May 2017, Premjee pleaded not guilty to one count of rape by use of drugs and one count of sexual penetration with a foreign object. However, Premjee was expelled when the Office of Equity and Diversity found him responsible for policy violations in March 2018.

“USC is in the process of reviewing how the new rulings may affect its Title IX investigations and remains committed to providing a fair process for all parties and to following all laws and regulations,” the University wrote.

A month before the hearing, a petition called for Interim President Wanda Austin to reinstate Premjee. The petition claims the video footage “from inside the bar [Banditos], outside it and inside the [victim’s] dorm room showed that she was very much the aggressor in this encounter.”

The petition has received over 2,557 signatures at the time of publication.

According to Harland Braun, Premjee’s criminal defense attorney, the female student made sexual hand gestures behind Premjee’s back, which Premjee interpreted as consent.

“She’s basically signalling over his head to her girl friend that she wants to have sex with him,” Braun said. “That evidence is so clear. It’s on video.”

The Los Angeles Police Department, however, failed to disclose the video footage to witnesses during questioning, according to Braun.

In response, Premjee filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles and the LAPD in June for their handling of his sexual assault case, accusing both of civil rights violations, malicious prosecution, negligence and false imprisonment.

According to the lawsuit, LAPD detectives Oscar Gamino and Carla Zuniga acted with “deliberate indifference to or reckless disregard for an accused’s rights for the truth in withholding evidence from prosecutors” and “suppressed exculpatory evidence.”

Armaan Premjee declined to comment.