A Columbia University student is suing the school for mishandling two rape cases she reported to the university in 2015. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court, argues that officials from various university agencies acted “deliberately indifferent” and “negligent” when the student reporter her assault to them.
The two rapes occurred during the student’s first semester attending Columbia University in the fall of 2015, according to the lawsuit. In October the student woke up in her Hartley Hall dorm room to find a man on top of her and raping her, according to the lawsuit. The student remembers passing out due to pain, but waking up and seeing a man with short curly hair exiting her room.
The student’s dorm room at Hartley Hall was one of the only that had not been equipped to automatic lock and keycard system, instead using a traditional lock and key, according to the lawsuit.
Eight days following the rape the student met with several university employees, none of which reported the assault back to the university’s Title IX office as university protocol demanded. The studentmet with employees at the university’s Sexual Violence Response Hotline, Counseling & Psychological Services and Disability Services.
She also met with her academic advisor and alluded to her rape. The advisor suggested she take a semester off or transfer schools, according to the lawsuit.
The next day the student went to St. Luke’s hospital for treatment for her injuries including vaginal tearing, cuts to her wrists and thighs and bruises to her legs, according to the lawsuit.
It wasn’t until September of 2016 — a full year after the student’s first rape — that university officials began an investigation. The investigation lasted 26 days and university officials did not conduct any interviews, review Hartley Hall’s entry log or review surveillance footage, according to the lawsuit.
In the lawsuit the student alleges that the rape and the subsequent mishandling by Columbia University caused her to suffer damages including emotional and physical pain and suffering; a noticeable drop in her grades; having to out herself as a rape victim; and having to avoid on-campus activities and commons spaces.