Two Students Sue Purdue University Over Retaliation
Two former Purdue University students, identified as Mary Doe and Nancy Roe in court records, are suing the school for retaliation after its Title IX office dumped their sexual assault complaint as baseless.
The lawsuit filed on Tuesday at the U.S. District Court in Indiana’s Northern District alleges school of expelling two former students in 2017 after an internal investigation couldn’t find enough evidence to back up their sexual assault claims.
According to The Exponent report, along with the university, the suit names Alyssa Rollock, vice president for ethics and compliance, and dean of students, Katie Sermersheim.
The suit alleges the University of running a policy of taking harsh measures including expulsion if “women can’t prove their claims.”
“I suspect there’s been some sort of overreaction over there to the way they were criticized for handling complaints,” plaintiffs attorney Jeff Macey told The Journal & Courier.
“But the school cannot be expelling or otherwise disciplining women if the investigation doesn’t come out in their favor. And I’m afraid that’s what’s happening there. And that’s just a real chilling, chilling effect on victims who are complaining under the Title IX processes the university has set up,” she added.
Both victims reported assault separately, in April and October of 2017. School officials initially passed an expulsion order, but after an appeal, it was turned into a two-year suspension.
Meanwhile, the university issued a statement on Thursday and said that it ensures fair treatment to all the parties involved.
“To the extent the case challenges the university’s handling of complaints under our anti-harassment policy and procedures, we stand by our commitment to provide a safe and secure environment for all members of our community,” university spokesman Tim Doty said.
“These are often difficult matters to investigate and decide, but we are confident in our processes and believe they afford all students with broad and appropriate protections, whether they are raising allegations of sexual misconduct or responding to them. Fair application of our policy necessarily entails ensuring all parties participate in the process in good faith by providing truthful information to assist the university in making its determinations,” Doty added.