Former UNL students suing university, alleging sexual assault, harassment claims ignored

Published: Jul. 21, 2020 at 5:57 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nine women, all former or current students at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in the past five years, are suing the school in federal court for failing to properly investigate or respond to reports of discrimination, harassment, and even rape.

The lawsuit alleges the women “were victims of sex discrimination, including rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and/or stalking, perpetrated by male UNL students,” according to court documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court.

The women say the university violated its own policies — and committed Title IX violations — numerous times when it failed to investigate or respond to alleged rapes, gropings, stalking cases, and racial discrimination in a timely manner, and that the university handled the women’s reports with indifference. In some of the incidents, the lawsuit names student-athletes and accuses unidentified players of wrongdoing.

In a statement, UNL defended its policies saying: “The health and safety of all of our students is of the utmost importance to us.”

The lawsuit calls for damages and demands a trial by jury.

“Female students who appealed the findings of IEC decision letters were repeatedly denied the opportunity for a hearing, and their appeals were summarily dismissed without due process,” the lawsuit states, referring to the UNL Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance.

The university’s failure to investigate or “appropriately respond” to the allegations forced three of the victims to leave the school, the lawsuit states.

— Staff reports

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