The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette responds to Jane Doe case, denies most claims

Photo via Wire Stock Photo The statement said Marquette believes that this measure would disadvantage private universities and will negatively affect the next generation of citizens.

Marquette is asking that a lawsuit be entirely dismissed in response to a former student’s complaint with how the university handled her alleged sexual assault. The university is also requesting that it be awarded reasonable costs, including attorney’s fees.

The former student claims the university retaliated against her by discouraging her to report the alleged incident to the police and failed to accommodate afterward. The university denies these claims.

“We care deeply for the student and family involved in this case. However, we strongly disagree with the attorney’s assertions of wrongdoing,” university spokesperson Brian Dorrington said. “We will continue to prioritize sexual assault education and care for any student who comes forward to get the support they need.”

Marquette “lacks knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to Plaintiff’s claim that she was assaulted,” according to the response filed Oct. 20.

The former nursing student is suing Marquette for violating two counts of Title IX, negligence and emotional distress for a sum of $1.5 million and a trial by jury.

After the alleged rape, the victim reported the incident to the then Department of Public Safety, and a week and a half later, the suspect withdrew from Marquette. The complaint states the victim was not informed of Title IX, which the university denies. The accused was eventually acquitted in July 2016.

But Marquette confirmed it did not conduct a Title IX investigation because the suspect was no longer a student at Marquette.

However, under Title IX,  the university should have begun an investigation when the incident was first reported, said Carly Mee, the staff attorney for SurvJustice Inc., a nonprofit that advocates for survivors of sexual violence.

“They need to take prompt and effective actions to end that harassment,” Mee said. “That includes  promptly investigating.”

If the university launched an investigation right away, they could have done something like put a hold on the accused’s transcripts until the investigation is concluded, so then there would have been an attempt at an investigation, Mee said.  

She added that even if there was an act of sexual violence between a student and non-student, the university would still be required to investigate it.

According to the response, Marquette did not violate Title IX because “at all times relevant to the Complaint it had policies designed to prevent and correct sex-based harassment and, upon notice of the assault alleged in the Complaint, Defendant took prompt and effective action to respond to Plaintiff’s report.”

The suit claims Marquette retaliated against the woman for pursuing prosecution, tried to force her withdraw over a low grade in a prerequisite course for her nursing program, put her on probation and refused to accept results of a drug test administered by her doctor.

The university said in the response that all actions taken toward the former student were solely for “legitimate, non-discriminatory, and non-retaliatory reasons.”

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