Stanford reverses campus ban on Joe Lonsdale

Nov. 2, 2015, 11:45 p.m.
Courtesy of Joe Lonsdale, 2013.
Courtesy of Joe Lonsdale, 2013.

Stanford has reversed its order banning Joe Lonsdale ’04, co-founder of Palantir and founding partner of Foundation 8, from campus. The 10-year minimum ban had originally been instituted due to accusations of gender violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment, among other charges, by Elise Clougherty ’13.

In 2012, Lonsdale and Clougherty began a relationship while she was an undergraduate and he was a mentor for one of her classes. Clougherty later claimed that the relationship had been abusive and reported Lonsdale’s actions to the University in 2013. This led to the Title IX investigation that resulted in Lonsdale’s 10-year ban, and in January 2015, Clougherty filed a lawsuit against Lonsdale claiming that he had raped her several times during their relationship.

The lawsuit was dropped in court on Monday, Nov. 2, and Stanford has decided to lift the ban on Lonsdale.

“As a result of new evidence that came to light during litigation between Mr. Lonsdale and Ms. Clougherty, the investigator in a Stanford University Title IX matter involving both parties has determined that Mr. Lonsdale did not violate Stanford’s Title IX policy,” wrote Lisa Lapin, University spokeswoman, in an email to The Daily. “Accordingly, there is no basis to support a ban from the Stanford campus.”

However, Stanford has not dropped all accusations of misconduct against Lonsdale.

“Because Mr. Lonsdale and Ms. Clougherty engaged in a relationship and did not disclose it as per Stanford’s Consensual Relationships policy, Mr. Lonsdale has agreed that he will not challenge the temporary mentoring and teaching suspension that was imposed,” Lapin continued.

In response to the original lawsuit, Lonsdale had filed a countersuit against Clougherty on June 5. Lonsdale denied any wrongdoing and claimed that Clougherty’s accusations were false and represented an angry ex-girlfriend’s attempts at defamation.

“The lawsuit is a vile collection of lies and a transparent attempt to destroy the reputation and good name of Joe Lonsdale,” wrote Kristen Dumont, a lawyer for Lonsdale, to TechCrunch.

In his personal statement written after the original lawsuit, Lonsdale further claimed that Stanford was pressured into investigating and punishing him because of the atmosphere around sexual assault on campus.

“Stanford has been in the spotlight in connection with its prior mishandling of on-campus sexual assault claims,” Lonsdale said. “Her [Clougherty’s] team of lawyers exploited this political climate to their benefit. Under this pressure from my ex-girlfriend and her lawyers, Stanford initiated a second investigation, dispensing from the outset with any pretense of fairness.”

In response to the recent developments, John Clune, one of the Clougherty’s lawyers for the case, had no comment other than to say, “The case has resolved,” in an email to The Daily on Monday.


Contact Sarah Wishingrad at swishing ‘at’

Sarah Wishingrad '18 is a former Desk Editor for the University/Local beat. She is a History major from Los Angeles, California who loves politics, the waffles at Coupa, and all things Jane Austen. Ask her about her dog, Hamilton, at swishing 'at'

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