Suit Claims UMW Ignored Sexual Harassment Reports

by | Jun 8, 2015 | Schools & Education

By Susan Larson

Feminists United UMW filed a federal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights May 7, 2015, alleging the University of Mary Washington failed to act on knowledge and violated the gender equity law Title IX over sexual harassment.

“Feminists United said members received hundreds of anonymous, profane messages and death threats for their public opposition to Greek life and in speaking out against an offensive chant by the rugby team,” The Associated Press reported. “Feminists United were working on the complaint before the April 17 slaying of board member Grace Rebecca Mann, 20, of McLean.”

“Documents provided to The Huffington Post show the administration was keenly aware of the continued harassment, which was posted on the anonymous messaging app Yik Yak, but a federal complaint filed Thursday alleges the public university failed to act on this knowledge and permitted a hostile environment against female students,” reported The Huffington Post. “Police have not revealed a possible motive for [Rebecca Mann’s] killing and the complaint does not state the school is responsible for her death, nor does it explicitly connect the threats to her killing.”

University of Mary Washington Response to Title IX Complaint

“Throughout this academic year, the administration of the University of Mary Washington has been actively engaged with members of Feminists United and other students to address issues of safety and campus culture.

“While we disagree with many of the details and content in the May 7 press conference, we do share the ultimate goal of maintaining a safe environment in collaboration with campus partners. This University takes any allegation of gender-based violence very seriously.

“’Creating a safe learning and living environment is our first and foremost concern,” said Richard V. Hurley, president, University of Mary Washington. “I am pleased with the outpouring of students’ support shown since the press conference about how safe they feel on campus.”

“The University will cooperate fully with the Office of Civil Rights regarding the concerns put forward in the Title IX complaint announced today [May 7, 2015].

Related Stories

Obituary: UMW Student Grace Rebecca Mann

Homicide Suspect Arraigned, Cause of Death Released

UMW Men’s Rugby Club Suspension A National Conversation

Complaint Claims University Where Student Was Killed Failed To Act On Relentless Yik Yak Threats

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