OPINION: Administration’s handling of the Title IX lawsuits pathetic, immature

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The morning light reflects off the limestone of Anderson Hall on October 2, 2015. (File Photo by Evert Nelson | The Collegian)

Kansas State administration,

The current Title IX lawsuits our university is undergoing, bringing what I’m sure is unflattering and embarrassing publicity for K-State, is the perfect opportunity for you to get it together, take a stand and correct your past mistakes. Poor decisions on your part have lead to women suffering more than they already have in trying to report their sexual assault cases to the university, and you have done nothing to redeem yourself.

Title IX requires the university to investigate these reports and provide support for the members of our supposed “K-State family.” Instead, you, the administration, turned your back on multiple students wanting justice and safety after their trauma, and your excuses for doing so are pathetic and disrespectful to all involved.

K-State has held fast to the excuse that fraternity houses are off campus and any place that is not on campus might as well be Mars, because K-State simply has no way of assisting in sexual assault investigations that occur just a few minutes away. Then there was the press release accusing the “media” (Such a fun word to throw around without actually defining it, isn’t it?) for making false claims about K-State’s handling of the rape reports, still refusing to make any clarifications after making such a scene.

Instead of being productive, the administration has made up interpretations of Title IX, justifying the delay of off-campus rape report investigations by claiming liability was a concern, according to Tyler Kingkade’s BuzzFeed article “Lawsuit says university policy let repeat rapist prey on women.” K-State may try to say it does not have the resources or jurisdiction to investigate off-campus rapes, but its actions say another thing.

So K-State is not able to investigate a sexual assault report that occurs in an off-campus fraternity, but is able to sanction said fraternity for serving alcohol?

K-State administration seemed to think they were not crossing any lines by reprimanding Sigma Nu for having alcohol at its party, according to The New York Times article “Raped at off-campus frat houses, students say, and ignored by college,” by Stephanie Saul.

Hasn’t K-State already claimed the frat party Sara Weckhorst, senior in social work, was allegedly assaulted at was an off-campus, unaffiliated activity? The university should not have the ability to do anything about the alcohol, if that is the case.

The more recent report came from University Crossing, according to Weckhorst and former student Crystal Stroup’s lawsuit against K-State. Almost, just almost, K-State might have an argument that it does not have the ability to investigate there as it is an unaffiliated apartment complex.

Except, K-State still considers off-campus housing as part of the K-State experience, made apparent through the “Off-Campus Housing Support” page on the university’s website. Here, students can find information regarding what their rights are in lease agreements, advice in dealing with roommates and even the option to make an advising appointment.

But no assistance in dealing with sexual assault cases.

Way to twist your tales,

K-State administration, so you don’t have deal with the uncomfortable situation of helping young women get justice. It is sad these women have had to have their stories dragged across different news outlets in order to hold a university accountable for its lack of action and blatant disregard of Title IX’s requirements in handling alleged sexual assault.

Maybe it would be helpful to have it spelled out for you. Does K-State really need to have outside entities like the U.S. Department of Education come in to force it to improve?

Apparently so, because the K-State administration has handled its situation so poorly, changing the stories it tells, lashing out to media trying to report the issue and being just completely childish. It makes me, and probably many others watching the lawsuits play out, wonder if the people seated there are fit to continue to lead what used to be a family.

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Kelsey Kendall
Hi everyone! I'm a senior in journalism and cultural anthropology. My favorite things are storytelling, coffee and meeting new people. In that order.