IU student files federal Title IX complaint



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Former IU Title IX Director Jason Casares was accused of sexual misconduct early in 2016. He has since resigned his position. Tae-Gyun Kim Buy Photos

A federal Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education has been filed against IU this week, according to a press release from the national survivor advocacy group End Rape on Campus.

The complaint, filed by IU freshman Hailey Rial, comes following the resignation of IU’s former director of the Office of Student Ethics Jason Casares.

Rial said in an interview Monday she felt IU’s Office of Student Ethics failed her.

“They put in the most minimal amount of effort that they possibly could,” Rial said. “This is supposed to be a process that is both quick and efficient and fair, and I don’t think it was quick, efficient or fair."

Casares sat on Rial’s hearing board panel in January, just before sexual assault allegations raised by fellow Association for Student Conduct Administration conference attendee Jill Creighton prompted an investigation of 18 sexual assault hearing panels attended by Casares for the 2015 school year.

Rial said despite having Casares involved in her sexual assault hearing, she was denied an appeal of her case because she was told by the University her request came three days after the appeal deadline.

“I would think that the Title IX coordinator being accused of doing the same thing that someone else did to me was a bias,” Rial wrote in her Title IX complaint. “But Indiana University apparently did not agree.”

Rial’s complaint is one of four complaints that have been filed this week. The others were at American University, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Monmouth University.

Both the complaints for IU and the University of Alabama at Birmingham claim forensic sexual assault examinations, or “rape kits,” were not used in either university’s investigation.

In all four cases, no-contact orders went unenforced and university investigations lasted “significantly longer” than the U.S. Department of Education’s 60 day recommendation, according to the release.

“Ultimately, all of the survivors’ perpetrators were either found not responsible or were given minimal sanctions, creating a hostile environmental for the survivors and severely compromising their educational experiences,” the release stated.

IU is in its third year of a compliance review conducted by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

Emily Springston, IU’s chief student welfare and Title IX officer, said in an interview this review is more like an audit, and it is not unusual for such an investigation to last as long as five or six years.

She said she believes IU was chosen for the compliance review based on the University’s size and the OCR’s lack of an investigation in the Midwest region, headed out of Chicago.

“There’s a lot of institutions who are in the same boat,” Springston said. “We don’t take it personally. We take it extremely seriously, but we kind of just got the luck of the draw.”

Springston said her office immediately alerted the OCR when allegations involving Casares began to circulate.

“They’ve never raised something of concern that would suggest that this was coming or that they had grave concerns about his role,” Springston said.

IU spokesperson Mark Land said in a statement that the University is aware of the complaint filed.

"While the University cannot comment on the specifics of an individual case due to the privacy rights afforded to all parties in an investigation, it does dispute a number of the assertions made in the media as they relate to this investigation," Land said in the statement.

Land confirmed Rial's case is among the 18 cases being reviewed. 

"Indiana University has a comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy and a robust set of practices, including the prompt provision of interim measures to complainants, that are consistent with guidelines set forth by the Office of Civil Rights," Land said in the statement. "The University believes those practices were followed in this case."

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