A former University of Nebraska law student alleges that she was drugged, raped and then stalked by a classmate in 2018 and received no support or justice from the university.
The accuser goes by the pseudonym Jane Doe in a suit, while the man accused of assaulting and stalking her is named.
Defendants in the suit, which has been moved from Lancaster County District Court to Nebraska’s federal court, include the NU Board of Regents, former NU President Hank Bounds, UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green, UNL Title IX representatives and other administrators.
The defendants responded in federal court Friday and denied wrongdoing. They argued that some defendants lack first-hand knowledge of the matter, contended that the allegation is inaccurate and asserted that they had acted in good faith to investigate.
Title IX offices on college campuses investigate cases involving gender discrimination and sexual violence. UNL’s Title IX office has been accused of incompetence and cold treatment for more than a year by current and former students.
A group of students and former students going by the name “Dear UNL” spoke to the Board of Regents last year about their concerns. The regents didn’t respond publicly. But the Title IX director at UNL, Tami Strickman, found another job at the University of Michigan. Green formed an advisory panel to examine matters related to Title IX and sexual violence prevention.
Last month, UNL was named in a federal lawsuit filed in Michigan. The suit cites instances in which women, some named and some not, say they were raped or groped and intimidated by male athletes over the past few years. That suit names the NCAA and some member universities, including UNL, as defendants.
That suit says the NCAA and its institutions allowed male players to break the organization’s rules forbidding sexual violence. A member of Dear UNL said Friday that she knew of no direct connection between the suit filed in Michigan and that filed in Lincoln.
Title IX has been criticized by some as being tilted in favor of accusers after a directive nine years ago from then-President Barack Obama. Current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has said she would boost the due process rights of the accused in Title IX cases.
Defendants in the federal lawsuit in Nebraska contend that Obama’s directive, widely referred to as the Dear Colleague letter, was withdrawn in 2017.