Back in 2011 a student named Samantha at Hanover College in Indiana went to college authorities with a complaint about her roommate. Samantha says that they handled that problem by giving her one day to move out of her dorm room, and made no provisions for her to be housed elsewhere. With nowhere else to turn, she moved into her then boyfriend’s fraternity house where she reports that after a night of heavy drinking the boyfriend assaulted and raped her.
Samantha reported the rape to authorities at the college a month later, requesting at the time to speak to a female officer, but was forced to tell her story to a male officer instead. Not only did the officer refuse to believe her story, he demanded that she sign an agreement not to prosecute her attacker before he would allow her to leave the room.
After that the now ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend began a campaign of harassment against her, which she says ultimately led to the boyfriend coming to her dorm room late one night to deliver a beating along with some verbal abuse.
She reported this to the college as well offering to provide them with photos of the bruises from the beating. After the boyfriend denied having been in her room, however, the college informed her that the photos would not be necessary.
Over the next several months Samantha continued to report the harassment in hopes that the school would finally intervene. Instead the school told her not to expect any help from them and that if she continued to claim being harassed she might be expelled.
Finally, in the summer of 2013 Samantha and her attorney brought the case to the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) which attempted to negotiate an agreement between the parties.
In November 2013 the college announced that it had decided that the former boyfriend and his girlfriend were not only innocent of all of the charges Samantha had lodged, but also that Samantha herself had been waging a campaign of harassment against them. They generously declined to punish her for her crimes however, noting that the type of harassment she had engaged in is not covered under the school’s code of conduct.
Last week the OCR informed the college, a small Catholic liberal arts school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, that it is under investigation as a result of the way it handled Samantha’s case. Under title IX of the federal gender equity law colleges are required to prevent and intervene to stop harassment when it is brought to their attention. In Samantha’s case this clearly did not happen.
h/t: Opposing Views