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Kansas State Refused to Investigate Fraternity Rapes Because They Happened Off Campus

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This is the tale we know all too well: A college student is raped and reports it to the university—and the university does not handle the investigation like it should or even at all. Unfortunately, this happened to two rape victims at Kansas State University.

According to The New York Times, the two victims, Sara Weckhorst and Tessa Farmer—both juniors at Kansas State University—reportedly told the university that they had been raped on two separate occasions in university-recognized fraternity houses off-campus in 2014 and 2015, respectively. You'd think that would be huge cause for alarm, as hundreds of students are probably hanging out and partying at those frat houses every weekend.

However, as Cosmopolitan reports, the university refused to investigate their cases, citing policy: “[o]ff campus occurrences that are not related to University-sponsored programs or activities are investigated under this Policy only if those occurrences relate to discrimination, harassment, or retaliation alleged on campus.” As a result of the fraternities being off-campus, the university refused to intervene and investigate the case.

Weckhorst and Farmer filed lawsuits against the university for its failure to investigate and violation of Title IX, a civil rights statute that prohibits discrimination based on sex, the Times reports.

In a letter written by the U.S. Department of Education's Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in 2011, the government stated that universities were obligated to investigate sexual assaults cases that occurred at university sponsored or related events on or off-campus under Title IX, according to Cosmopolitan.

The United States’ government has responded again, stating that Title IX encompasses “all education programs of a federally funded school, including the house and events of a school-recognized fraternity”, according to the Times. The government further stated that “a school must respond to allegations of sexual assault in fraternity activities to determine if a hostile environment exists there or in any other education program or activity.”

Kansas State needs to take responsibility and resolve Weckhorst and Farmer’s cases. Kansas State’s failure to act, along with any other university that does so, only shows predators that it is perfectly acceptable to assault innocent students and they won’t receive any form of punishment. Even worse, they show these victims that their safety is of no importance to the university.  


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