By: Barbara Hart, Principal in G&E’s Civil Rights Practice
Survivors of sexual violence on campus, typically young female students, often do not report their sexual assaults. Many survivors are trying to change this by coming forward to publicly share their experiences in an effort to increase awareness and to encourage other survivors to tell their stories.
Recently, a former LSU student bravely came forward to share her experience of being sexually assaulted on campus—and that campus staff mishandled her complaint. The former student filed a lawsuit related to a 2015 sexual assault that occurred in her LSU dorm room. After reporting the incident, the perpetrator was arrested but not charged. Her assailant had not only been previously accused of sexual assault at LSU, but also at two other Louisiana universities to which he transferred after being accused of sexual assault at each school—yet still graduated in 2020, according to court filings. “This has been a rough seven years,” the plaintiff said, “just knowing that nobody has been held accountable.”
The former LSU student is one of several women suing the Louisiana higher education systems concerning their mishandling of sexual assault complaints. The lawsuit focuses on the failures of these universities to follow state law that requires a university to report the allegation of sexual violence where the assailant attempts to transfer to another educational institution.
The mishandling of Title IX complaints related to sexual violence by universities across the country is unfortunately a widespread issue. For example, last summer, Grant & Eisenhofer initiated a lawsuit on behalf of several female students alleging Brown University “failed and continues to fail” to protect women, “creating a campus culture that ignores and even tacitly allows trauma to be inflicted on women.”
Contact the Civil Rights Attorneys at Grant & Eisenhofer Today
If you or someone you love is a survivor of sexual misconduct or sexual violence at a college, university, or other education institution, it’s important to know your rights and have someone fighting for you to hold those responsible accountable. Hiring a Title IX lawyer may be an option for you. If you feel you have not been heard by your college or university, speak with an attorney experienced in Title IX proceedings.