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University Of Kansas Lawsuit May Set Precedent In Sexual Assault Litigation

A view from Bailey Hall on the campus of the University of Kansas.

CREDIT: Flickr user Patrick Emerson.

The University of Kansas is currently being sued by the parents of Daisy Tackett, a former student and member of the rowing team on campus, who was allegedly sexually assaulted while in the school dorms.

The lawsuit is especially noteworthy because it addresses a new angle through which survivors of sexual assault could potentially sue universities for assaults committed on campus.

“The lawsuit essentially accuses the university of false advertising and violating the Kansas Consumer Protection Act,” explains the Kansas City Star. “Experts say that if successful, the lawsuit could give students another way to prod universities to do more to stop sexual violence on campus.”

Tackett’s parents are claiming false advertising on the basis that when the University of Kansas was pursuing their daughter for its rowing team, they were assured that she would be safe while in the dorms. Nonetheless, in 2014, Tackett was allegedly sexually assaulted while in one of the campus’ dorms.

While the final verdict, based on an internal school investigation following Tackett’s report of the assault, is still unknown her parents are moving forward with holding the University accountable for the dissonance between what they said and what her parents believe actually happened.

“Our feeling is that the university cannot say their campus and their dorms are safe unless they really are safe,” stated Amanda Tackett, Daisy’s mother, to the Kansas City Star.

Overall, statistics find that 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted during their time on campus, with a majority of these assaults at the hands of someone the survivor knows. Currently, the University of Kansas has three open Title IX investigations that are being investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

A University of Kansas spokesperson, Erin Barcomb-Peterson, told the Kansas City Star, regarding Tackett’s suit against them that “the suggestion that our residence halls are unsafe or that we misrepresent campus safety in our student recruitment is baseless.”

Tackett’s parents plan to move forward with the lawsuit despite Kansas’ denial.

“We believe there are many more victims of on-campus crimes in the dorms,” explained Amanda Tackett. “Had we known this, we would not have considered KU as an option.”

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