(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and law firm Baker Hostetler LLP filed an amicus brief on behalf of about 30 organizations to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Weckhorst v. Kansas State University. The brief argues that the university, located in Manhattan, Kansas, violated Title IX when it failed to address the sexual violence suffered by two female students who were raped by male students during fraternity events.
The students experienced a hostile educational environment after the rapes, including fear of the accused students, harassment from other students, and academic difficulties that ensued as a result of the assaults. After the students reported the rapes and the resulting harms, Kansas State failed to take action. The federal district court found that the young women’s allegations were sufficient to show that Kansas State violated Title IX. On appeal, the university argues that it is not liable because the young women were not assaulted or harassed again by their assailants.
The following is a statement by Fatima Goss Graves, NWLC President & CEO:
“Schools have a responsibility to address a student’s rape and the accompanying harm when they first learn about it. These students could not feel safe or learn because of their university’s utter inaction, and it’s unacceptable. All students deserve a safe learning environment free from sex discrimination, including assault. That’s the promise of Title IX—and schools must meet their legal responsibilities.”