Stanford Accused Of Attempting To Buy Its Way Out Of Title IX InvestigationsBy Emily Marks
Former Stanford students accused the university of trying to buy its way out of Title IX investigations. Apparently, the institution offered them money to drop their complaints.
BuzzFeed News reported that the school has offered settlements to at least two women. This is part of Stanford's efforts to close the ongoing federal investigations on how it handles sexual assault complaints.
It was noted that Stanford presented the offer to the women in exchange for their withdrawal of the Title IX complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The complaints resulted to federal investigations.
The women, who filed the complaint, revealed that the settlement offers and its accompanying conditions were made during communications between their lawyers. One of the complainants, Leah Francis, admitted that Stanford offered her a $60,000 check two months ago, in October, to be used for her therapy expenses. It is unknown what the other complainant was offered with.
Both did confirm, though, that they refused to accept the settlement offers. This is because they felt that it was important to continue with the federal investigations regarding how Stanford addresses sexual assault cases.
Stanford spokesperson Lisa Lapin did not deny that the institution had tried to settle the cases. However, she did say that it would be "unethical" for the school to comment on the settlements since these are conducted under assurances of confidentiality.
According to Stanford Daily, if the two complainants had decided to accept the settlement and withdraw their federal complaints, it does not necessarily mean that the OCR would stop its investigations. It is highly likely that the OCR will continue on its examination of the cases after withdrawal if it believes that an institution has "systemic issues."
Lapin added, in a statement to the publication, that Stanford has never had any intention to curtail the investigation. This comes as another recently filed lawsuit claimed that the university was indifferent toward several instances of sexual assault by a male student.