The University of Kansas wants the courts to dismiss the latest Title IX lawsuit filed against the school by a former rower who said she was sexually assaulted in campus housing.
In a motion filed in federal court last week, the university said that while it regrets that a student feels she was exposed to any form of sexual harassment, “as a matter of law, under Title IX, KU is not responsible for the claims. ”
The rower filed the lawsuit in Douglas County District Court, anonymously as Jane Doe 7, in April. The suit alleges the university violated Title IX, the law prohibiting gender discrimination and protecting against sexual violence and harassment. Last month she identified herself as Sarah McClure.
McClure’s lawsuit says she told a friend about being assaulted at Jayhawker Towers, where she lived at the time, but did not tell the rowing team’s sports psychologist, Lawrence police and KU security until two months after the incident.
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McClure, in the lawsuit, also says that KU failed to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual assaults at Jayhawker Towers and failed to stop retaliation against her by the football player she accused of assaulting her.
In its motion, the university said, “KU may be liable for peer-on-peer harassment only where it has actual knowledge of ongoing sexual harassment and remains deliberately indifferent to it.”
The football player was never charged with a crime and was not identified in any lawsuit, but university officials said that after investigating McClure’s claims of sexual assault, the accused was expelled from KU.
KU declined to comment on its motion to dismiss the Jane Doe 7 lawsuit. But the school said in a statement last month after McClure came forward that it “takes very seriously any and all claims of sexual assault and sexual violence.”
Last month KU made a similar request for the court to dismiss a separate but related Title IX lawsuit filed by another former rower, Daisy Tackett.
Tackett in her lawsuit said she was raped by the same football player at Jayhawker Towers in 2014. McClure has joined a class-action lawsuit that had been filed by Tackett’s parents saying KU falsely advertised the safety of dormitory life on the Lawrence campus.
Last month KU filed a motion to dismiss the Tacketts’ false-advertising case, saying that since the Tacketts are neither students nor parents of a current student, they have no standing to sue under the law.