Legal experts say a ruling by a judge that a California university unfairly punished a student for sexual misconduct sends a strong warning that schools under federal pressure to better address rape should not forget to respect the rights of the accused.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Joel M. Pressman ruled Friday that there was not enough evidence to back up the allegations against the student. He said the University of California San Diego failed to give him a fair trial. Pressman says he can return to class and ended his suspension of a year and a quarter.

UC San Diego officials declined to comment on the ruling. School officials say they are still evaluating whether to appeal.

Legal experts say the case sets a precedent.