Federal Government Backs Students’ Lawsuit Claim Against KSU

The government’s stance counters claims made in court by the university’s lawyers.

The Department of Education said Kansas State University’s policy to not investigate student complaints of rape off campus is wrong.

The department’s stance, filed in court documents, supports the lawsuits of two KSU students who are suing the school for refusing to investigate allegations that they were raped at fraternity houses, reports kansascity.com.

The two students, Sara Weckhorst and Tessa Farmer, claim in separate lawsuits that the school’s policy violates Title IX.

“[We] are thrilled to see the U.S. federal government out in support of the law,” Carli Simon, the attorney representing Weckhorst and Farmer, says.

Both students were told that the university would not open investigations into their rape allegations because the fraternity houses where the alleged incidents occurred were located off campus.

RELATED: Univ. of Tennessee Settles $2.5M Title IX Lawsuit

Lawyers for the school had argued that the cases be dismissed because the school is not legally responsible for reports of rape off campus, but the federal government issued a “statement of interest” in the trials refuting that claim.

“Title IX text, case law, regulations, and guidance clearly instruct that a university-recognized fraternity is an education activity,” the statement reads. “The continuing effects of a student-on-student rape, including the constant fear of exposure to one’s assailant, can render a student’s education environment hostile. Thus, a school must respond to allegations of sexual assault in fraternity activities to determine if a hostile environment exists there or in any other education program or activity.”

Officials with Kansas State University were not available for comment after the department’s court filings.

The school is already under federal investigation for its handling of four Title IX cases, including the rape complaints of Weckhorst and Faremer.

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