FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. ― A former student at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville has filed a federal lawsuit alleging the school acted with “deliberate indifference” after she reported that she was raped by another student.
The lawsuit was filed Monday, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. It alleges the university violated Title IX, a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination at schools that receive federal funding.
The lawsuit said the woman was a 19-year-old athlete in October 2014 when she told police and school officials that she’d been raped in her dorm room by a 23-year-old student who was a former university athlete. The student told authorities that the encounter with the woman was consensual, and criminal charges were never filed.
The woman says the school improperly handled a campus disciplinary process and didn’t adequately train people on the disciplinary panel who heard her case.
According to the lawsuit, the school “delayed coordination of classroom accommodations, (and) delayed addressing of Plaintiff’s room assignment where the assault occurred.”
University spokesman Mark Rushing says the woman’s concerns were fully investigated and comprehensively addressed in a timely manner.
According to the lawsuit, the campus disciplinary panel expelled the former athlete in December 2014. The former athlete appealed the expulsion and he was told in a January 2015 letter from the university that he could receive his degree since he had completed course requirements, as long as he performed community service and attended counseling.
The university said that letter was sent by mistake.