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Student claims IU violated Title IX while handling her sexual assault case


The University has responded with another statement after tweets and social media posts continue to critique IU for its handling of sexual assault investigations, especially with regard to Ellie Johnson and the continuing #WeStandWithEllie movement. 

Original Story:

IU has come under fire after tweets from a student about her sexual assault case went viral. 

The student, Ellie Johnson, posted online the University violated Title IX multiple times while investigating her case. 

Her first tweet about her case was posted June 25, and has been shared more than 2,000 times and been liked almost 5,000 times, and resulted in the creation of the #WeStandWithEllie hashtag, along with numerous responses and interactions with other Twitter users.

In a series of tweets posted by Johnson since June 25, she said IU violated Title IX and University procedures in her sexual assault case.

In a Twitter direct message to IDS reporter Nyssa Kruse, Johnson said she "filed a complaint, had a hearing, appealed the outcome" and recently received the appeal outcome.

She said her appeal was denied and that IU was "standing by their original decision." 

She tweeted she hired an attorney to appeal her case, but didn't get a rehearing.

Johnson also tweeted June 25 that she emailed more than 10 University officials a month ago about the Title IX violations, and no one had gotten back to her.

Later on June 25, Johnson tweeted she got an offer to meet from IU.

At one point June 26, Purdue University's Twitter account joined the conversation and began responding to Johnson while IU had yet to do the same.

Later that day, Johnson tweeted she would have been better off not reporting her case to the University, saying "I could’ve spared myself the heartache, despair and agony knowing the system was against me from the start." 

On the evening of June 26, the University published a response on social media and also provided a fuller statement to the Indiana Daily Student when asked to do so.

In the statement provided by Chuck Carney, IU director of media relations, he reaffirmed the process used by the University in the investigation, as well as IU's commitment to fostering a safe environment for students, faculty and staff.

"A three-person panel, pulled from a pool of faculty and staff who receive extensive training in matters of sexual assault, carefully considered all facts and evidence presented and rendered its decision, which is based on a preponderance of evidence," Carney said in the statement. 

While unable to comment on details of the specific case or on the areas of study for the panelists, Carney confirmed that after the initial investigation, the decision was affirmed in an independent review.

In fall 2017, the IDS published "The System," a four-part series offering an in-depth investigation into IU's extra-judicial process. 

According to that reporting, hearing panelists are selected based on a list of IU employees who have completed IU's sexual misconduct training. The training is available to faculty and staff across various departments, and no legal expertise or continuing education is required. 

One panelist must be a student affairs administrator, and each member must complete an annual day-and-a-half-long seminar composed of in-person and online parts, but those are the main components for eligibility on a panel overseeing sexual assault cases.

Johnson tweeted June 27 that IU threatened to withhold medical documentation from the panelists if she didn't agree to put the information on the online Box at IU sharing and storing service. 

She also tweeted this was a new rule established with her, five days before her hearing.

Johnson responded to the University's online statement on her Facebook, claiming IU "completely ignored the issue at hand in their statement and they didn’t provide any specific actions they are taking," and the University has "screwed over HUNDREDS (sic) of survivors for decades."

She also responded to the University's online statement on Twitter, saying "IU is trying to reduce this to a single, isolated incident. This issue is so much bigger than my case."

This story will be updated.

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