Majority of Haskell Univ. Title IX Lawsuit Dropped by Judge
A judge ruled that Title IX does not apply to the university since it is a federal agency operated by the Bureau of Indian Education.
Most of a Title IX lawsuit against Haskell Indian Nations University has been dropped by a federal judge.
A former student at the Kansas university says she was raped by two students in a campus dorm on November 15, 2014. The lawsuit claimed she was “subjected to a hostile educational environment at Haskell in violation of Title IX,” reports The Kansas City Star.
Named in the October 2016 lawsuit were the university, university officials, the federal government and the secretary of the United States Department of the Interior.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiff also cited retaliation for reporting the rape, wrongful expulsion, deprivation of due process, and violation of privacy rights.
U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten agreed with the school’s attorney that Title IX does not apply to Haskell as it does to other public colleges since the school operated by the Bureau of Indian Education and does not receive federal assistance.
“Haskell is a unique national institution of higher learning for Native Americans,” Marten wrote in his July 18 order. “It provides a tuition-free education for members of indigenous Nations, and any federal assistance takes the form of Pell Grants or other assistance for limited expenses.”
Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the only other higher education institute run by the Bureau of Indian Education, reports the Associated Press.
“The government’s position was that the students at Haskell do not have the same rights as the students attending KU, or K-State or UMKC,” says Dan Curry, the plaintiff’s attorney. “The United States argued that Haskell students should have fewer rights. We disagree and will continue to press the argument.”
The Remaining Lawsuit
Although the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims of a hostile environment, retaliation, and wrongful expulsion, Marten has allowed her Privacy Act claim to move forward.
In that claim, the woman says Haskell administrators illegally released her private records during court proceedings.
She had been identified in previous court hearings as “Jane Doe H.”, but Marten says she would have to use her real name should she proceed with her privacy claim.
The Alleged Assaults
The two men accused of raping Jane Doe H. were football players at the university at the time of the alleged assault.
Jared Wheeler, one of the football players facing charges, went to trial in June 2016 which ended with a hung jury. He eventually pleaded no contest to the single count of aggravated battery in November 2016. He served 60 days in prison and will serve two years of probation.
The other student, Galen Satoe, was acquitted of the charge of attempted aggravated sodomy. Two separate juries were unable to reach a unanimous decision on charges of felony rape, attempted rape, and aggravated criminal sodomy.
The Douglas County District Attorney’s office says it will not be pursuing a third trial against Satoe.
Both students were also expelled from Haskell.
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