NEW ORLEANS — A nationwide women's organization is suing Dillard
University, alleging failure to protect female students from
rape and sexual harassment.
Jane Doe filed a complaint March 29 against Dillard University, alleging the school failed to take
appropriate action to protect Doe and other female students from an
individual, identified as J.B., whom the school
administration knew was dangerous.
"Dillard University already
knew he was a threat to the campus, he had assaulted another student,
and that student had reported the rape," Alexandra
Brodsky, a Skadden Fellow at the National Women's Law Center told the
Louisiana Record. "And the school took no
The National Women's Law Center is one of three
co-counsels action on the plaintiff's behalf along with The Fierberg
National Law Group and Herman, Herman and Katz.
to Doe's complaint, in November 2015, another student was raped by
J.B., who reported the crime to the university. However, Doe alleges Dillard failed to investigate the report or share the
events with the student body. Consequently, it was much easier for JB
to gain access to Doe's dorm room and sexually assault her. The claim
asserts "Dillard had actual knowledge of the
substantial and foreseeable risk posed by J.B., whose conduct and
presence on Dillard’s campus created a sexually hostile environment
for female students."
The suit asserts Dillard acted with deliberate
indifference to its knowledge that J.B. posed a threat to other
students, which had further negative consequences for Doe.
the rape JD and his friends harassed Doe to the point that she
dropped out of Dillard and ended up homeless for six months,"
Brodsky said. "Now she is working a low-wage
job and we feel very strongly that Dillard
had the opportunity to prevent this course of events and chose not
to the complaint, Dillard subjected Doe to sexual
harassment and deprived her of equal access to educational
opportunities and thereby violated Title IX of the 1972 educational amendments, 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a). In addition the complaint
asserts Dillard failed in its duties owed to Doe as
her university and as the owner of the dormitory that was her home.
This caused her to suffer significant emotional distress as well as
other physical and emotional injuries.
and her attorneys seek compensatory damages and penalties,
legal fees and injunctive relief ordering Dillard to revise
its policies, procedures and practices so that it is in compliance
with Title IX.
Brodsky said the case against Dillard is
very strong. "I am confident that the judge will see that this a
strong and clear case," she added. "The crux of the matter
is that Dillard knew that J.B. posed a threat and did nothing to
prevent further violence. The school had a clear cut responsibility
to stop it from happening again and it is disappointing that it will
require legal action on our part to get Dillard to change its ways."