The University of Connecticut was slammed with a federal discrimination complaint Monday by seven women who claim they were sexually assaulted when they were students at the school, the Associated Press reports.
Well-known civil rights attorney Gloria Allred will be representing the victims of the sexual assault.
"They are simply tired of seeing women being raped and sexually assaulted at the university while the administration shows deliberate indifference," Allred said, "and they have joined the ranks of women at many universities across the country that have chosen to fight back."
Kylie Angell, who graduated from UConn in May, said the school expelled her attacker at first, but then readmitted him later, without her knowledge. When she was approached by him later in the dining hall, Angell said she went to campus police.
"The officer told me, 'Women need to stop spreading their legs like peanut butter or rape is going to keep happening until the cows come home,'" Angell said. "Shocked, I left feeling confused, violated, traumatized and vulnerable."
Four students who are currently enrolled and three others who recently graduated have called for an investigation under the federal Title IX law, which protects students from sexual discrimination in any education program that receives federal aid.
In an issued statement, UConn says that while the cases of the women are confidential, the school felt each was handled appropriately. It said it would welcome any additional information. In the interest of transparency, it would discuss specifics on each case if the students wanted to waive their privacy protection rights, according to The Hartford Courant.
"Our students should reasonably expect protection and due process," the school said. "They deserve the best response in the nation, and we're committed to ensuring that right."
The school must investigate, hold hearings, listen to witnesses and notify both sides of what they discover, Allred said. She is working with a lawyer from Connecticut, but wouldn’t say if she will file lawsuits on the victims’ behalf, AP reported.
UConn could lose federal funding or be fined if the civil rights complaint is upheld, Allred said.
Susan Herbst, the school’s president, spoke with reporters on campus Monday, saying she didn’t see the complaint, but pointed out that she and the campus police chief are both women.
"I feel like this campus is very safe for women," she said.