Less than two weeks after a woman was found unresponsive in a dormitory after allegedly being raped by several men, four former students at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) are suing the school.
The women were assaulted years ago, but decided to bring suit after the latest case of sexual assault on campus. They claim that the school isn’t doing enough to combat predatory behavior.
“Recent disturbing events at EMU demonstrate that … students remain unprotected from a dangerous culture of sexual assault which continues to flourish on campus without any meaningful oversight or intervention on the part of EMU and its officials,” the lawsuit says.
The claim was filed in the U.S. District Court in Detroit, bringing the total number of women suing the school to 24.
The newest lawsuit claims that after the most recent sexual assault, the school’s only action was to issue a “campus-wide alert instructing students to walk with co-workers, be aware of their surroundings and take a seminar on self-awareness and self-defense.”
“Named in the new lawsuit are the EMU Board of Regents; former Title IX coordinator Melody Werner; EMU police; EMU police Chief Robert Heighes and retired Deputy police Chief Daniel Karrick; and the nationaloffice [sic] and local chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity,” according to The Detroit News.
Walter Kraft, a spokesman for EMU, disputed the characterization of the school’s response to the sexual assaults.
The descriptions of these assaults are heart-wrenching. The University shares in the survivors’ — and the community’s — frustration and anger that any student should experience sexual violence.
However, contrary to the allegations made in the initial complaint, the University is, and has been, steadfast in its commitment to respond to, and investigate, reports of sexual misconduct. Any accusation that the University covered up crimes of sexual assault is false.
The University’s Title IX office took its responsibilities very seriously and worked diligently in those situations in which it was contacted about a sexual assault, to show compassion, express concern, and actively support survivors, while encouraging them to pursue an investigation if they were interested and willing to do so.
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