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Former Wesleyan Student Sues University, Fraternity Over Sexual Assault

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

According to the Hartford Couranta former Wesleyan student who was sexually assaulted at a 2010 Halloween party at the Beta Theta Pi fraternity house has filed suit against the University and the frat. The suit alleges Title IX violations on the part of Wesleyan, and accuses the Administration of “failing to protect [the unidentified plaintiff] from dangers at the fraternity,” which she claims had a reputation for sexual misconduct and was known on campus as the “Rape Factory.”

The lawsuit claims that the Administration took no disciplinary action against the members of the fraternity, which is unaffiliated with the University. Allegedly, when she reported the assault, her RA did not even call the police, campus safety, or school officials.

The core of the suit charges the Administration with gross negligence in its inability to protect female students from sexual assault. In March 2010, months before the incident, VP of Student Affairs Mike Whaley sent out a campus-wide email warning students to stay away from the frat house because they could not “establish the safety of the premises.” As a freshman entering Wesleyan in the fall of 2010, the plaintiff was unaware of this warning.

After the assault, Whaley sent out another email on November 10, 2010 advising students to stay away from the Beta Theta Pi house and later, in March 2011, revised Wesleyan’s housing policy to prohibit students from living in off-campus houses owned by groups unaffiliated with Wesleyan. Such a sweeping revision sparked a student uproar, and  the lawsuit claims that the plaintiff was quickly outed, harassed, and targeted, with the frat’s chanting “Free Beta” outside her dorm. She soon withdrew and transferred to another school.

Of course, this whole mess simply speaks to most college and university administrators’ utter incompetence and insensitivity when it comes to dealing with allegations of rape and sexual misconduct on campus, and truthfully, there’s not a huge difference between Wesleyan and Skidmore in that respect. Given the events of last semester, it seems pretty obvious that it’s time for us to—once again—have  that same old debate over the most effective policy. We may have come a long way since this travesty, but until we get it right, nothing is going to change.

(via Hartford CourantTimes Union, and Wesleying)

Family of Alexander Grant Drops Lawsuit

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

The Saratogian is reporting that the family of Alexander Grant has dropped their $5 million lawsuit against the people they claimed were involved with his death. The lawsuit named nine defendants, eight of whom were Skidmore students when it was filed last spring.

In a statement released through their lawyer, the Grants expressed regret at the steps taken in filing suit. They are now offering a $100,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of any individuals who may have been responsible for Grant’s death.

“After speaking with most of the parties, as well as their families, we have discontinued the lawsuit in its entirety,” they said. “There is a strong possibility that key elements of the tragedy have yet to be brought to light. We believe we have a grave obligation to do everything in our power to determine the causes of his death, and will continue to seek information until we are satisfied that all relevant facts are in our possession.”

Grant’s parents have asked anyone with information about their son’s death to call 1-877-216-9588 or go to www.alexgranttips.org. Requests for anonymity will be honored.

Skidmore Unofficial’s previous coverage of the Alexander Grant tragedy

(via Saratogian)

Family of Alexander Grant Sues

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The parents of Alexander Grant have filed suit against those they claim are responsible for their son’s death. The lawsuit, which was filed in Saratoga County Court last week and obtained by the Saratogian, cites the fact that Grant was underage and names nine of his peers who provided him with alcohol. The suit also alleges “wrongful death,” and repeatedly emphasizes that all of the defendants knew that Grant was under-21 at the time.

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