Historically Black institution Howard University is involved in a lawsuit that claims college officials failed to handle sexual assault reports made by female students. The suit claims that five female students reported sexual assaults by male students and employees of Howard University between 2014 and 2016.
According to Fox DC News, the first unidentified student says she was raped by a Resident Assistant in her dorm in February 2016. She reported the rape, but after six weeks she allegedly received no response or support from the university. After social media posts about the incident, the first unidentified woman learned another woman was also rapped by the same man in October 2015. This second woman left the university when she said her report was not investigated and she didn’t feel safe.
The lawsuit says, in response to the first woman’s social media posts, Howard’s Dean of Student Affairs told her, “You embarrassed your family by doing that.”
A third woman said she experienced sexual and physical abuse from a Howard police officer in November of 2014. She was feeling suicidal and requested counseling services but she never received support, according to the lawsuit. Her grades were impacted and she lost her job.
In addition, a fourth woman claimed in the lawsuit that a Howard student raped her in a campus dorm room in March of 2016. When she reported the incident, she said several days passed before anyone responded. She allegedly continued to see her accused rapist on campus, which caused her emotional distress. This was made worse when she discovered the guy would be assigned the same dorm as her. In August of that year, the school told her that the man she accused of sexual assault was suspended due to a sexual violence violation. However, The woman claims that less than two months later, she saw her accused rapist on campus again.
The fifth woman says she was sexually assaulted by a male Howard student in April 2015. According to the suit, shortly after she reported the assault, she was informed that she couldn’t graduate that semester. The lawsuit says she asked to take her remaining courses at a community college, but the school didn’t respond until someone helped her intervene. Over seven months later, the woman was able to graduate and the man accused of assaulting her was convicted of sexually assaulting another woman in D.C. in October 2016.
This is a developing story and we will provide updates as they become available.