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Appeals Court Allows Kansas State Rape Suit to Proceed

March 19, 2019
 
 

A federal appeals court will not toss out a lawsuit by two Kansas State University students who alleged that administrators refused to investigate their rapes and other reports of sexual assault in off-campus fraternity houses.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit agreed with the decision of a federal district court not to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the two female students.

The two women gathered enough evidence to potentially support a claim that Kansas State was “deliberately indifferent” after they reported their rapes to the university, the appeals court ruled. They alleged that the university violated the federal gender antidiscrimination law, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, by not properly investigating their rapes, which in turn caused them to be vulnerable to further harassment and lose educational opportunities.

Though the appeals court agreed with the lower court to not dismiss the case outright, the ruling does not affect the ultimate outcome of the lawsuit.

Kansas State provided a statement to Inside Higher Ed:

The court’s narrow legal ruling did not determine the facts of the case or that the university committed any error. K-State cares about its students and always provides a wealth of support. The university offered numerous resources and support to these plaintiffs -- who both went on to graduate from K-State.

The university is committed to complying with antidiscrimination laws. K-State respectfully disagrees with the court’s decision on the discrete legal issue and believes it is contrary to other court decisions. K-State is reviewing its options for next steps in the cases.

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