More than half a dozen current and former students filed a federal complaint against the University of Connecticut for the alleged mishandling of their sexual assault accusations.
Seven female students filed their complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, following the lead of women from Emerson College in Boston and the University of North Carolina, among others. The complaint accuses UCONN of failing to follower the Title IX gender equity law by properly handling sexual misconduct cases on campus and preventing harassment.
One former student in the complaint is Kylie Angell, who graduated in May and now works as a nurse in a Connecticut hospital. Angell reported to UCONN’s Offie of Community Standards that she was raped by a fellow student in a dorm on the Storrs campus in July 2010. At a hearing in October 2010, her assailant was found guilty of sexual misconduct, breaking and entering, possession of drugs, and providing alcohol to a minor. He was expelled, but then filed an appeal. Only two weeks had passed before her assailant was allowed back to campus, Angell said, and she was not notified at all. In fact, she didn’t know her rapist had teruned until he approached her in a dining hall and “grazed [my elbow],” she said in a press conference on Monday night. “I was then met by heckling from his friend, who shouted at me that the perpetrator ‘was back.’”
After than incident, Angell reported her sexual assault to the campus police in the hopes they would have more power than the previous officials. Instead, Angell said, one of the UCONN campus cops commented ”women need to stop spreading their legs like peanut butter or rape is going to keep on happening ’til the cows come home.”
She’s not the only student with claims her rape was pushed under the rug. Current senior Erica Daniels said she was drugged and raped by a UCONN student; she, too, reported the assault to the Office of Community Standards and got no response.
If uCONN is found in violation of Title IX, it could face fines or lose federal funding. The univeristy released a statement the after the federal filing on Monday:
“We always must be mindful of the rights of the accused and the accuser while upholding our commitment to protecting the safety of our campus community. We are confident at this point that these cases were handled thoroughly, swiftly and appropriately.”
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