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Ross v. University of Tulsa: Title IX Suit

On August 18, 2014, a former student at the University of Tulsa (“TU”) filed suit against TU for alleged violations of Title IX (and other common law causes of action). In pertinent part, the former student claims she was sexually assaulted by a member of TU’s men’s basketball team at his on-campus apartment. The plaintiff alleges the student-athlete had a history of sexual violence and TU was aware of other claims made against the student-athlete, but TU refused to act to protect female students. Further, the plaintiff alleges TU failed to investigate the alleged sexual assault and conducted a sham disciplinary hearing, which ultimately led to the student-athlete being allowed to remain on campus and cleared to take part in intercollegiate athletics activities.

The plaintiff seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages based on causes of action for violation of Title IX (20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)), negligence per se, negligence, negligent supervision, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Specifically, the plaintiff claims TU had actual knowledge of the student-athlete’s prior history of sexual assault, TU allegedly failed to investigate the student-athlete’s actions, and TU allegedly failed to protect the plaintiff from the student-athlete in light of his “well-documented history of sexual assault.” Therefore, the plaintiff claims TU created an environment of gender-based discrimination that did not afford the plaintiff the opportunity to obtain an education.

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