Kansas State University must investigate accusations of sexual assault at off-campus fraternity houses, the federal government stated in documents filed Friday in support of two students who are suing the university.
In their federal lawsuits, two female students said they were raped at two fraternity houses in 2014 and 2015 and that the university violated Title IX -- the gender discrimination law that instructs colleges how to handle accusations of sexual assault -- when officials did not investigate the claims. The university argued in court that the lawsuits should be dismissed because it is not responsible for reports of rape at off-campus locations.
But the U.S. Department of Education stated in a 2011 Dear Colleague letter that Title IX does require colleges and universities to investigate such cases, specifically citing university-recognized off-campus fraternity houses.
“The continuing effects of a student-on-student rape, including the constant fear of exposure to one’s assailant, can render a student’s educational environment hostile,” the government filings said, according to The New York Times. “Thus, a school must respond to allegations of sexual assault in fraternity activities to determine if a hostile environment exists there or in any other education program or activity.”
Opinions on Inside Higher Ed
Inside Higher Ed’s Blog U
What Others Are Reading