Former students accuse Purdue of retaliating after sexual assault claims

Two former Purdue students accuse the University of implementing a policy where people who cannot prove their sexual assault claims, get kicked out of school.

Posted: Nov. 15, 2018 4:58 PM
Updated: Nov. 16, 2018 11:06 PM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Two former Purdue students accuse the University of implementing a policy where people who cannot prove their sexual assault claims, get kicked out of school.

The lawsuit is filed under the names Mary Doe and Nancy Roe.

Both women claim when they were 19, they were expelled after making sexual assault claims against a Purdue male. Their incidents were unrelated.

After the women appealed, both expulsions were converted to suspensions.

The lawsuit claims Purdue has implemented a policy where women who cannot prove their claims to the satisfaction of Purdue decision-makers, face discipline up to expulsion.

They are requesting a jury trial in the case.

Purdue University said it is aware of the lawsuit but has not yet been served.

"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. 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. While federal law and privacy rules prevent us from discussing any specific case, we urge you to read Purdue’s Anti-Harassment Policy and procedures related to claims of sexual discrimination and harassment."

That policy can be found here. 

Some students said the situation is alarming considering the university requires them complete a course on sexual assault before coming to Purdue. 

"Knowing that they make us know that kind of stuff but they don't actually implement it is kind of sad and I wouldn't applaud them on that if this is what is actually going on," said Mackenzie Lipps.

"But I feel like now the policies, at least what I read it seems like that is kind of making people not want to come out because if there was a chance of me getting expelled I mean I wouldn't personally come out like that to tell Purdue," said Hayden Smith. 

The lawyer representing the students Jeff Macey, shared this statement with News 18: 

"Being in federal court is the last thing my clients ever wanted. Both of them simply wanted to continue their academic careers at Purdue University. We are only in court as a last resort. In addition to the harm they suffered, my clients are concerned that Purdue's actions in their cases represent a shift in the way schools are handling Title nine complaints and that this shift is going to harm other victims. Both look forward to their day in court and a change in Purdue's policies going forward."

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