Women Unite to Say UConn Failed Them on Handling Sexual Assault

A federal discrimination complaint has been filed against the University of Connecticut by 7 women who say that they were not protected against sexual assault. The sexual assaults happened on campus, and the complaint charges that UConn officials mishandled their response to the incidents.

The women in the complaint have seen sexual assault occur far too many times on the campus, they say, and have finally decided to do something about it for the benefit of everyone.

“They are simply tired of seeing women being raped and sexually assaulted at the university while the administration shows deliberate indifference,” civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred said, “and they have joined the ranks of women at many universities across the country that have chosen to fight back.”

Kathleen Megan From The Hartford Courant reports that UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz says the university takes matters of rape very seriously because the health and well-being of every individual is important.

“She also said the university would welcome any additional information on the cases. “Our students should reasonably expect protection and due process,” Reitz said. “They deserve the best response in the nation, and we’re committed to ensuring that right.”

Erica Daniels, who is now a senior at UConn, was raped after being drugged by a student, and after taking her experience to the Office of Community Standards she felt that the response was unfit.

Another student tells her experience of being raped by a fellow student and how it affected her emotionally during the aftermath:

Rose Richi, a junior, said: “The thrill and excitement I felt being a student at UConn was shattered when I was sexually assaulted by a male student athlete. I spent the following week in my bed crying, trying to understand what had happened to me. I didn’t feel comfortable telling anyone or reporting because of the overwhelming privilege of athletes on this campus.”

Student Carolyn Ruby tried to call attention to the prevalence and seriousness of sexual assault on campus by sending a letter to the president of UConn, which resulted in the letter going viral on the internet. She received death threats from students on campus, raising more questions about the attitudes of both the school and community toward sexual assault.

“The administration at UConn knew about the sexual harassment and hostile environment I experienced, yet responded with resounding silence,” Luby said.

Luby says that the UConn police advised her to ‘wear a hat’ so that she wouldn’t be recognize on campus.