Bailey Reed, alumna who has previously spoken out about the university’s handling of her sexual assault claim, filed a Title IX lawsuit against SIUE in federal court on Tuesday.
A press release by Reed’s lawyer, Nicole Gorovsky, describes the university’s Title IX process as “discriminatory toward women and rape survivors.”
Reed says she was assaulted Oct. 17, 2017, in her Evergreen Hall dorm room. Later that night she went to Anderson Hospital for a rape examination. She also filed a police report, and was eventually granted an order of protection from the Madison County Courthouse.
The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access’s initial investigation of Reed’s claim found the man she accused not in violation of the school’s sexual harassment policies, but she appealed their decision to the Sexual Harassment Panel in the Spring 18 semester..
The Sexual Harassment Panel overturned the EOA office’s original decision, but her alleged assailant appealed the decision yet again to Chancellor Randy Pembrook, who again flipped the decision and found the accused student not responsible.
Pembrook as well as Kara Shustrin, an EOA office employee and Chad Martinez, the former director of the EOA office, are all named in the suit..
Gorovsky previously said she felt like the university’s handling of the Title IX case was poorly handled.
Reed is seeking punitive and compensatory damages, as well as an injunction requiring SIUE change their sexual harassment policies and training.
“SIUE had many opportunities to provide a fair and non-discriminatory process in this case. It chose instead to violate a student’s rights,” Gorovsky said in the press release. “SIUE stole Reed’s ability to have an education free from sexual harassment and gender discrimination.”
Doug McIlhagga, director of Marketing & Communications, said the university will defend themselves against this suit.
“While the University does not generally comment on pending litigation, we disagree with many of the allegations made in Ms. Reed’s lawsuit regarding her treatment by SIUE and the University’s Title IX investigation process. SIUE takes all complaints of sexual assault and other forms of sexual harassment very seriously, and seeks to provide a harassment and discrimination free environment to all SIUE students, employees and visitors,” McIlhagga said.
Reed’s lawsuit comes a week after the Alestle reported on a lawsuit filed by Eric Rhein, a lawyer for a client named in the suit only as L.M. for privacy reasons.
Rhein’s lawsuit is nearly the total opposite of Reed’s, alleging that the system is biased against the accused, rather than the accusers.
Both lawsuits are still awaiting a trial.