On March 1, Brian Bensimon of The College Fix reported on an extremely bizarre controversy regarding Drake University. The small private university in Des Moines, Iowa was recently sued. The origins of this lawsuit, Doe v. Drake University, are nearly beyond belief.


Drake University Violates Title IX?

Several years ago, John Doe applied for admission into Drake University’s Class of 2016, and he got in. In the fall of 2015, Doe was accused of sexual assault by one of his fellow students. However, during the Title IX investigation that ensued, Doe “reported that he had been assaulted by the complainant during the night of the alleged incident.” The lawsuit goes on to state that Doe believed “that it was she who had initiated the sexual contact when she suggested that she and [Doe] leave his fraternity house and go to [Doe’s] car to be alone, and he further reported that he was ‘not in a state to be with her’ and ‘was not able to give consent that night.'”


Guidance from the federal government has suggested, at least since 2011, that all colleges and universities have a “Title IX obligation to resolve complaints promptly and equitably.” Instead of initiating an investigation into Doe’s complaint, Drake officials “only questioned [Doe] about his complaint to accuse him of retaliating against his complainant, and took no action to objectively or seriously investigate the merits of [Doe’s] complaint.”


As the lawsuit importantly notes, “in essence, [Drake University] granted the female student immunity for her sexual assault on [Doe], labelled his claims as ‘retaliation,’ and purposefully disregarded his complaint. Notably, neither Drake University’s policies nor Title IX guidance allow a claim of sexual assault to be ignored, even if the university deems it to be retaliation.”


To make this matter even more shocking, “during the Title IX Hearing, [Doe’s] female accuser admitted, on the record, before [Drake’s] representatives, to sexually assaulting [Doe] without his consent, as such term is used and understood under [Drake’s] Sexual Assault Policy. Nevertheless, despite such admission by the female accuser, the assault on [Doe] was once again permitted to stand uninvestigated.”


Drake University Violates The ADA?

For Drake University to dismiss the Doe’s claims, based on no deducible rationale, yet continue an investigation into the female’s complaint, even after she admitted to violating Drake’s own Title IX policies, is bad enough if found to be authentic in court. Nevertheless, this story, according to the lawsuit, gets even worse.


John Doe “was diagnosed at the age of five (5) with ADHD, language based learning and word retrieval disabilities, and anxiety.” Drake knew of Doe’s disabilities, as the university provided him with academic accommodations throughout his time as a student. However, the officials who conducted the Title IX investigation provided Doe with no accommodations. At one point during the Title IX proceedings, Doe was forced to “act as his own legal representative during [an] entire nine-hour long Title IX Hearing.”


The lawsuit also goes on to point out that Drake University granted Doe and his family “fewer accommodations while simultaneously offering comfort rooms for the female complainant’s family…”


Throughout this Title IX process, Doe’s father, Tom Rossley, complained multiple times to Drake’s board, of which he was a 23 year member, that the university was operating in violation of his son’s rights under both the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and several other federal and state statutes.


Rather than addressing Rossley’s concerns, high-ranking members of the university’s board instead sought to oust Rossley. In July, he was removed from his position in a manner, according to the lawsuit, that violated the university’s own policies.


With so many levels of injustice being alleged against the university, it is difficult to see how Drake will argue this case in court. Only time will tell how our justice system addresses these seriously concerning allegations.