Haskell Indian Nations University is free from the bulk of a Title IX lawsuit filed against the school by a woman who said she was raped by two men in a campus dorm in 2014.
A federal judge dismissed the majority of the woman’s lawsuit, ruling, for the most part, that the gender discrimination law does not apply to Haskell the same way it applies to other schools. Haskell is a federally owned and operated, tuition-free college for Native American and indigenous students.
Title IX protects students from any type of gender discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.
The suit, filed in October 2016, names the university and university officials as well as the federal government and the secretary of the Department of Interior.
The plaintiff, identified as Jane Doe H., claims in her lawsuit that “she was subjected to a hostile educational environment at Haskell in violation of Title IX.” She also claims she was retaliated against after reporting that she was raped, that she was wrongly expelled, that she was deprived of due process and that the school violated her privacy rights.
Citing sovereign immunity, which protects the U.S. government from certain legal action, the court dismissed claims of hostile environment, retaliation and wrongful expulsion.
The court has allowed the privacy portion of the suit to move forward.
“The government’s position was that the students at Haskell do not have the same rights as the students attending” the University of Kansas, Kansas State University or the University of Missouri-Kansas City, said Dan Curry, attorney for Doe H. “The United States argued that Haskell students should have fewer rights. We disagree and will continue to press the argument.”
Two men, both Haskell football players at the time, were arrested and charged in the case.
Jared Wheeler was convicted of aggravated battery, a felony, after pleading no contest.
Galen Satoe was acquitted of felony attempted aggravated sodomy. In two trials, jurors did not reach unanimous decisions on charges of felony rape, attempted rape and aggravated criminal sodomy. In May, Douglas County prosecutors decided against moving forward with another trial against Satoe.