FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF
RHODE ISLAND [Hon. John J. McConnell, Jr., U.S. District
Byler, with whom Nesenoff & Miltenberg LLP and Samuel D.
Zurier were on brief, for appellant.
R. Bender, with whom Beverly E. Ledbetter and the Office of
General Counsel, Brown University, were on brief, for
Howard, Chief Judge, Lynch and Lipez, Circuit Judges.
HOWARD, CHIEF JUDGE
brought suit against Brown University ("Brown") and
three of its employees, alleging a number of contract and
tort claims arising from Brown's sanctions against her
for her second violation of the University's Code of
Academic Conduct ("the Code"). The district court
entered summary judgment in Brown's favor, which Doe now
appeals. We affirm.
Doe appeals a grant of summary judgment, we present the facts
in the light most favorable to her, the non-moving party.
See Bellone v. Southwick-Tolland Reg'l Sch.
Dist., 748 F.3d 418, 420 (1st Cir. 2014). Doe studied at
Brown as an undergraduate from the fall semester of 2010
through her graduation in the spring semester of 2014. In
2013 -- the fall semester of Doe's senior year -- she
enrolled in Public Health 320, a course taught by Professor
Melissa Clark, one of the defendants here. Professor
Clark's course included a two-part midterm examination
consisting of an in-class multiple-choice examination, as
well as a take-home exam that included four essay questions
("the take-home" or "the exam"). While
grading the take-home exams, a teaching assistant noticed
similarities between Doe's answer to the exam's
fourth question ("Question 4") and that of T.L.,
another student in the class. The assistant alerted both Doe
and Professor Clark. Doe met with Professor Clark the next
day, and, according to Doe, she "readily admitted"
in that meeting "that she and other students, including
T.L., had collaborated on the [e]xam." Doe also
explained to Professor Clark that "the majority of the
students in the class had worked in groups" on the exam,
and that this collaboration was in line with Professor
Clark's "regular encourage[ment of] such
collaboration and group discussions in her course."
days later, Doe received an email explaining that she would
need to meet with Christopher Dennis, the Deputy Dean of the
College (and another defendant in this case) about her exam.
At the meeting with Dean Dennis, Doe again acknowledged her
collaboration with T.L.
December 2013, Brown notified Doe that it had assigned her
matter to the university's Committee on the Academic Code
("the Committee") for a hearing. Before the
hearing, Doe submitted a written statement to the Committee
in which she acknowledged that "after comparing my
[take-home exam] with the other individual [T.L.], there are
similarities between the two for question #4." Doe
further explained that "it was late at night, and I was
suffering from fatigue . . . . I was struggling on coming up
with innovative ideas for [Question 4]. I used [T.L.'s]
suggestions, and when she was explaining them to me, . . .
the thoughts of whose were whose was blurred." Doe's
statement concluded with a request that the Committee
"understand where I am coming from and forgive me for my
hearing, Doe chose not to call any witnesses, opting instead
to admit to and to apologize for having relied on T.L. in
answering question #4. See Doe, 209 F.Supp.3d at
474. Neither Professor Clark nor T.L. appeared as witnesses
against Doe. Id.
Committee concluded that "by making unauthorized use of
the work of another" on the exam, Doe violated
Brown's Academic Code. After considering that this was
Doe's second violation of the Code,  the Committee
assessed the following sanctions: (1) a one-semester
suspension, including termination of university access and
related privileges; (2) notations on her academic transcript
about the suspension stating "directed no credit in
Public Health 320," and "violation of the Academic
Code"; (3) parental notification; and (4) the denial of
any future institutional letter of support, or alternatively
a discussion of Doe's offense in all such letters.
appealed the Committee's decision to defendant Margaret
Klawunn, Brown's Vice President for Campus Life and
Student Services, in January 2014. Ten days later -- one day
after the start of the spring semester -- Klawunn issued a
decision affirming the Committee's decision and
sanctions. Doe then transferred to Rhode Island College for
her final semester. After completing her remaining credits
there, Doe timely graduated from Brown with her class.
2015, Doe filed a thirteen-count complaint against Brown and
the three individual defendants alleging various tort and
contract claims. The crux of Doe's theory underlying her
claims was that Brown's disciplinary process in her case
was deficient and biased when compared to the procedures
prescribed under the Academic Code, and further, that Brown
had imposed overly punitive sanctions for Doe's
violation. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss that
included several attachments and the district court, after
giving Doe the opportunity to submit additional documents and
affidavits for consideration, converted the motion into one
for summary judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). Doe
requested additional discovery. See Fed.R.Civ.P.
27, 2016, the district court entered a judgment dismissing
Doe's claim for unreasonable publicity to one's
private life and granting summary judgment to the defendants
on all remaining claims. Doe, 209 F.Supp.3d at 479. The
court also denied Doe's request for additional discovery.
Id. at 479 n.14. This appeal followed.