Editor’s Note: It is important to stress that Callaway was never charged with rape, sexual assault or any crime related to this case in a court of law, as police investigators decided there was not enough evidence. It should also be made clear that at the school hearings, Callaway was found responsible only for ‘sexual misconduct,’ a vague umbrella term that includes everything from flashing to sexual assault (details of exactly what type of sexual misconduct were not available), and that UT’s system, while having far-reaching powers over consequences in the university community, does not function as a criminal courtroom.
Facing a TPD investigation, Rashad Callaway was suspended from the basketball team, as per athletic department policy.
For weeks Callaway waited to hear back from the police, missing valuable training and practice time with his new teammates. Meanwhile, the victim chose not to press charges with UT’s conduct system, but retained the opportunity to do so at any point. TPD continued its investigation.
The victim was visited by two girls, she would later report, who urged her to drop the charges. Campus Safety and Security officers asked her to move out of her room.
Two weeks later, she says she pressed on in the face of this pressure.
Then she received bad news. The State Attorney’s Office reviewed the evidence, and nearly three weeks after the incident, they declined to prosecute.
Callaway was relieved. If he was found innocent on the school charges, he would be vindicated and freed from this mess.
Meanwhile, it was clear to the victim that TPD was uninterested in pursuing the case. The day after the party, she found bruises on her thighs. She called TPD and asked them to photograph them for evidence.
‘The male TPD officer that responded looked at my bruises then went out into the hall to call a supervisor who decided, without seeing the bruises, that they were not bad enough to send an evidence team out to photograph, so the officer left,’ the victim wrote in an e-mail to The Minaret. She asked Campus Security Officers who were also there to go ask TPD for an explanation.
‘They told me to stay in my room and they would be right back,’ she said. ‘They never came back or called. I waited by myself for an hour and then left to be with some friends.’
She felt abandoned by the law and hoped an administrative board would hear the case and offer some form of justice.
The hearing was called. It was a Friday afternoon in October. She was put through the experience again, forced to recall what she considered a violent rape.
She reported that two campus security officers who were present during the hearing shook their heads in disbelief during her testimony. They were also allowed to question her.
Both parties, as well as a number of witnesses, reported that both had been drinking. UT policy says that an impaired person cannot consent, which would indicate that a sexual assault had occurred.
The UT student Code of onduct defines impaired as: ‘temporary incapacity to evaluate or control conduct, because the person is unconscious, asleep, intoxicated or under the influence of other drugs or for any other reason physically unable to communicate consent.’
With no legally admissible photos of her bruises, the victim was left with a lot of proof to provide. The case was largely defined by her side of the story and his side.
At one point after his testimony, he was dismissed before she was able to question him, she claimed. Her advocate had to ask him to return to the room. Also, at one point, her microphone had to be turned off due to a high-pitched squeal, she said.
The late afternoon hearing stretched into the evening. She remembers that one member of the board had to leave before the 7 p.m. conclusion to the hearing.
But hours later, a verdict was returned. Callaway had been found responsible for sexual misconduct.
Callaway’s heart sunk. His college career had reached its end in his first semester. The administrative board told him he would be suspended from the school. According to policy, he had 48 hours to move out or appeal.
He consulted with a lawyer. To appeal, they must question the propriety of the sanctions, introduce new evidence, or claim that the trial was unfair. Callaway would introduce new evidence, they decided.
There were a number of problems they thought would work on appeal. The original conduct board had found him responsible because she was intoxicated. He would challenge that, moving to show that she was able to give consent.
Callaway would also contest the result on the grounds of another charge levied. He reasoned that he was charged with violating Article 9: Alcohol. She was not. This fact, he would contest, indicated that the school did not consider her under the influence, even though both had admitted to consuming alcohol that night.
On Nov. 2, Callaway filed his appeal. The victim was notified.
It was falling apart. She had felt safe, and felt like the ordeal was nearing its end. Now she was receiving e-mails from Judicial Coordinator Michael Gilmer asking for more information for the appeal.
She accused Callaway of violating the no-contact order. She said she left her dorm and found him talking to people on her hall. She didn’t claim he tried to make contact with her, but his being in the dorm, on her floor even, violated the order, she argued. She hoped they would consider this in the appeal.
The minimum sanction for sexual misconduct is pending suspension. Callaway hoped he could have his name cleared or his sanctions reduced.
‘It was either [appeal] or get kicked out of school,’ he said.
Another administrative board was called. They reviewed the evidence and found it reasonable to reduce his sanctions but not overturn the ruling.
‘They looked at the papers and said I could still go to school but couldn’t live on campus or go into any dorms,’ Callaway said.
Pending suspension, they told him. And termination of housing. He’d have to find somewhere to live, but he could still go to school and, hopefully, play basketball.
The athletic director was left with the task of determining the future of Callaway, who had missed some practice, but no games.
Once the state decided not to prosecute, he was free to attend practice.
The victim said Associate Dean of Students Gina Firth told her the coach would have the final decision on Callaway’s basketball future.
Larry Marfise, the athletic director, said that the conduct board never got in touch with him, and that he would have the final say over whether Callaway could play or not. Judicial Coordinator Mike Gilmer confirmed that he never contacted Marfise.
The athletic director allowed Callaway to keep playing without any interruption.
The season went well for Callaway. He earned a spot in the starting five, and he was fitting in well with the team. He picked up the reputation of hitting big shots at the end of big games.
On March 4, he hit a game-tying 3-point shot with 28 seconds on the clock to tie Rollins College in the SSC tournament. He scored the last five points of the game to secure an 80-76 win.
The victim had no closure. The state sided with Callaway, and the school was waffling. UT called it sexual misconduct, but they felt Callaway was still fit to attend school and play basketball.
She wrote a le
tter to the editor of The Minaret. She wanted to expose the conduct process and tell her story. Callaway had his own side of the story. Few knew which to believe.
Callaway Grateful to God for Second Chances
Victim still felt violated by system
Callaway openly talked about his ordeal.
‘I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,’ he said. ‘I’m thankful that I’m still here, and I’m still playing basketball, still getting an education. That’s just goes to show you that you got to have your head on straight. You got to do the right things.’
He specifically spoke about facing the potential of felony charges in his first month as a college student.
‘That was real hard,’ he said. ‘I was like ‘God, this can’t be happening.’ It just shows you that God does exist.’
After the appeal, Callaway was removed from campus housing. He was given 48 hours to move out, a condition the victim found appalling.
‘As a comparison, someone I know was punched by another student. That student was required to leave campus in 24 hours,’ she wrote in an e-mail to The Minaret. ‘I was raped by someone I did not know. He used force and he stayed on campus until after the appeal, and then given 48 hours to move.’
Callaway moved out of the dorms and moved on with his life. He was banned from entering any residence hall and had a no-contact order issued against him by the victim.
His basketball season continued, something he was highly grateful for.
‘I’m still in school, even though I’m not in the dorms, I’m still here and I’m still playing basketball, still fulfilling my dreams,’ he said.
While the victim sought justice, Callaway instead aimed to get on with his education and his basketball career.
‘Me getting into that experience, really let me see the true life,’ he said. ‘It let me see that this is real, that this is nothing to play with. They were trying to kick me out of school. We appealed it, and they just kicked me off campus, but I was still allowed to go to school. I’m still thankful for that. Even though I can’t live in campus, I’m still thankful that I’m going to school and thankful that I’m playing basketball.’
For The Minaret’s other stories, follow the guide below:
‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ What Is Sexual Assault?
‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Minaret Special Investigation
o‘ ‘ ‘ Both Sides of the Story
o‘ ‘ ‘ The State declines to prosecute, and UT J-Board takes up the case
o‘ ‘ ‘ Lack of Charges Kept Him on the Court
o‘ ‘ ‘ Problems Plagued Conduct Process from the Start
o‘ ‘ ‘ A Challenge to our Readers
‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ UT’s Definition
o‘ ‘ ‘ Related Student Handbook Policies
o‘ ‘ ‘ Definition of Terms
‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Alcohol ‘amp; Sexual Assault
o‘ ‘ ‘ Speaker Emphasizes Effect of Alcohol on Sexual Assault
o‘ ‘ ‘ Authorities say use of date-rape drugs on the rise
o‘ ‘ ‘ Drunken Hook-Ups Can Blur Consent
o‘ ‘ ‘ Women and Drinkers Most Likely to be Victims
‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Men’s Role
o‘ ‘ ‘ College Men Need a New Dialogue on Rape
o‘ ‘ ‘ Men Must Fight Date Rape, Too
o‘ ‘ ‘ The Myths of Rape
‘middot;‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ Help for Victims
o‘ ‘ ‘ Ruling Co
uld Open Door to Victims Suing Schools
o‘ ‘ ‘ UT Student Re-examines Personal Experience
o‘ ‘ ‘ Crisis Center Volunteers Help Victims Cope with Assault
o‘ ‘ ‘ What the Research Shows…
o‘ ‘ ‘ Campus Advocate Speaks on Experiences
o‘ ‘ ‘ Resources for Rape Victims
o‘ ‘ ‘ UT’s On-Campus Sexual Assault Prevention Program Gaining Visibility