Oct 07, 2014 11:36 AM EDT
Virginia Wesleyan College Changed a Student's Sexual Assailant's Expulsion to a 'Voluntary Withdrawal'
Virginia Wesleyan College (VWC) expelled a student found responsible for sexual assault, but then tried to help him out when he began applying elsewhere.
According to the Huffington Post, VWC changed the student's status from "expelled" to "voluntarily withdrawn" to help him get accepted to another school. Only identifying herself as Jane Doe, the allegations come from a newly filed lawsuit.
The complainant also accused the Virginia United Methodist Church-affiliated liberal arts college in Norfolk, Va. did more to help her assailant than they did her. Filed Friday, Doe is seeking $10 million in damages.
The woman said she was at a school-sponsored, dry party toward the beginning of the 2012 fall semester. The VWC-employed peer adviser then convinced her to leave and go to a party with him where alcohol was available. She believes she was drugged at that party because she woke up in a lacrosse player's room and was experiencing bleeding and bruising in and around her sex organs.
By Feb. 2013, she had filed her complaint and VWC held a disciplinary hearing for the attacker, who was found responsible of sexual assault and faced expulsion. That May, she said David E. Buckingham, VWC's vice president for student affairs wrote her a letter informing her that her rapist was no longer expelled, but had voluntarily withdrawn.
"They just said, 'We looked it over and we want to ensure he can still get a good education and be able to play athletics,'" Doe told the HP. "That was a giant slap in the face to me. You're going to help my rapist, yet I'm struggling to get decent grades, on the verge of failing out, and you aren't helping me."
In many cases of sexual assault and rape, victims suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which would make studying and attending class near impossible for a college student. Doe also alleged she was harassed by people who knew her attacker and told the HP they would chastise her for "getting [him] kicked out."
As a recent data analysis from the HP revealed, schools are expelling less than a third of the students they find responsible for sexual assault. One of the chief reasons behind it is what VWC iterated to Doe, that the school should not be the one to pass judgment.
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