A former Queens University student has filed a lawsuit against the university, claiming administrators failed to assist her after she was sexually assaulted by another student in April 2012.
WBTV is withholding the name of the former student because her lawsuit involves a sexual assault.
The lawsuit was originally filed in state court in April but attorneys for the university removed the case to federal court on Friday.
According to the lawsuit, the student was raped by a male friend while she was sleeping. The lawsuit says she reported the incident to campus police immediately.
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In the lawsuit, attorneys for the former student say the male student confessed to police that he raped the woman but Queens University Campus Police officers did not arrest him. The complaint says the male student was arrested six months later in October 2012. WBTV was not able to verify the male student’s identity nor his arrest record on Friday because campus police officers could not provide a copy of the police report from the incident, as required by law.
The legal complaint says school administrators also held a hearing and found the student had violated campus policies. The lawsuit says the student was given a four-semester suspension despite the fact that the female student requested he be expelled permanently.
“Queens had more than sufficient information to take action on its own to expel the student and failed to do so,” attorneys for the plaintiff wrote. “The [administrative hearing board] punishment sanctioned against the offending student allowed the offending student to return to campus after four semesters without the requirement of an approval by Queens Administrators or notification requirement of the Plaintiff. In addition, there was no required follow up to ensure the offending student received counseling and such counseling reports determined he was no longer a threat to the Plaintiff or other female students.”
According to the lawsuit, the female student asked administrators what would happen if she did not complete her degree and was still on campus in four semesters and was told by the chair of the administrative hearing “We can’t deal with what-ifs.”
The lawsuit accuses the university of violating to federal laws—Title IX and the Clery Act—by not making appropriate accommodations for the female student following the rape. According to the complaint, the school did not have a required Title IX coordinator until after the rape in April 2012.
Attorneys for the plaintiff also allege that the school refused to help the student manage her coursework following her rape.
“The Human Resources Director advised Plaintiff to not address concerns with other faculty because they would be offended,” the lawsuit says. “The Human Resources Director advised Plaintiff, that she, the Human Resources Director, did not feel comfortable addressing the Plaintiff’s coursework concerns with the Plaintiff’s professors because she, the Human Resources Director, was not the professors’ immediate supervisor and felt the professors might be offended by her directives.”
According to the lawsuit, the female student was unable to complete courses that spring semester nor the following fall.
The lawsuit says the female student continues to suffer from emotional distress, fear anxiety and depression.
A spokeswoman for Queens University would not comment on the lawsuit on Friday night but issued the following statement:
“Adherence to Title IX and the Clery Act are important priorities for our university. We are deeply committed to providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all of our students.”