11/14/15 Northwestern, Brandon Roberts

Then-redshirt freshman safety Brandon Roberts chases down a Northwestern running back during a 2015 game.

Purdue officials agreed to pay a former student-athlete $50,000 as part of a July 2020 settlement after he sued the University over his alleged wrongful expulsion.

Football player Brandon Roberts was expelled in May 2017 over sexual assault allegations made by another student. He sued the University in 2019, claiming his right to due process had been violated, that his desire to play professional football was "dealt a serious blow" and that Purdue had discriminated against him based on his race and the race of his accuser, who is white. 

Roberts was not charged by the Tippecanoe County prosecutor as a result of the allegations, and Roberts claimed the University was attempting to make an "example" of his case in response to a federal policy "that all but ensured any accused would be found guilty of the allegations against them" per the original lawsuit filing.

Purdue officials claimed in the letter expelling Roberts they found his accuser "more credible" than him but provided no further information and accepted no evidence from Roberts other than his verbal testimony during investigatory hearings, the lawsuit alleged. Roberts appealed the decision, but the University provided him with a "heavily redacted" copy of the internal investigative report and did not allow him to view the direct evidence used to compile the report.

Purdue settled the federal lawsuit out of court in July, and it was dismissed in September, according to court records. Roberts did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The University agreed to pay Roberts $33,333.33 and his Indianapolis law firm, John H. Haskins & Associates, $16,666.67.

Roberts released his claims against the University as part of the agreement, which also maintains that the settlement is not an admission of guilt from either party.

The Exponent originally filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the settlement document on Sept. 8, after the notice of dismissal for the lawsuit was released. The University denied the request twice, claiming confidentiality under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. The Indiana public access counselor ruled last week the University had violated the Indiana Access to Public Records Act.

The Exponent then requested the document again on Monday and received it less than an hour later.

A clause in the settlement document, which is not included in the public record, states any "restrictions on disclosure do not apply to disclosures which may be required by law, including by the Indiana Access to Public Records Act."

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