MOSCOW, Idaho — The University of Idaho failed to adequately respond after a female law school student was sexually assaulted off campus last year by a student she attended classes with, according to a sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by the woman against the university.
The lawsuit filed last week in federal court said the school violated federal law by allowing the female student to be subjected to discrimination that prevented her from participating fully in the education program, including participating in her graduation.
The lawsuit said that school officials told her that if she did not want to face the male student in class she should sit in the back of the classroom, listen to the lectures from home or move to the school’s campus in Boise.
“I’m having difficulty identifying a single way any member of this administration has served to support my access to the school and my continued participation in my education,” the student wrote in an email to school officials, according to the lawsuit.
University spokeswoman Jodi Walker told The Lewiston Tribune that the school does not comment on pending litigation.
The sexual assault occurred off campus on Feb. 11, 2016, the lawsuit said, and the woman reported the assault five days later after the male student sent text messages apologizing for making “a horrible mistake.”
The lawsuit said it took the university more than seven months to suspend the male student and that the woman had to have friends escort her around campus during the period before he was suspended.
In late September of 2016, the Student Appeals Committee upheld the Student Disciplinary Review Board’s decision to suspend the man for one year from the campus.
The lawsuit also said that the female student did not participate in the graduation ceremony because the male student took part and she feared for her safety.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages for emotional distress plus attorney fees and court costs.
The Associated Press does not generally name alleged victims of sexual assault.
The woman never reported the assault to police because she thought the university would deal with the situation confidentially, said her lawyer, Brook Cunningham.
The lawsuit said confidentiality disappeared when the man’s lawyer hired a lawyer who asked students about the woman’s state of mind, the lawsuit said.
Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com