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Arizona Campus Sexual Assaults Case Study

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Updated: May 6th, 2022

A student from the Arizona state university was barred from the university following allegations of sexual harassment. However, the Arizona state university latter reinstated him. He was then accused of sexually abusing the plaintiff in J.K. v. Arizona Board of Regents. The plaintiff sued ASU for contravening her Title IX rights. At the beginning of 2009, a court settlement instructed ASU to compensate the plaintiff with $850,000 dollars and recruit a student safety coordinator to restructure the university’s policy on sexual abuse and assault (Munson, 2009).

Darnel Henderson, a member of the ASU football team, was allegedly accused of threatening, physically holding, and harassing several female students at a pre-freshman alteration program. He was also reported to have exposed himself to a member of the staff indecently. He was subsequently expelled by the ASU board due to his actions. However, following a protest from the ASU football team coach, Henderson was later reinstated at ASU under a zero-tolerance program. He was allowed to reside in the freshman hostels (American Civil Rightd Liberties Union (a), n.d.).

During spring, Henderson sneaked into the residence of a female student at the university and was reported to have sexually assaulted her. From the findings of an investigation carried out by the university, Henderson was found guilty and subsequently expelled from the school for the second time. After his expulsion, it became vivid that Henderson would not be able to pay damages and the plaintiff’s lawyer opted to sue the university board. In early 2008, various advocacy societies were enjoined in the case. They filed a brief to the court arguing that ASU was legally liable under Title IX for the sexual assault and discrimination experienced by the plaintiff. In this case, ASU was aware that the player in question had been previously reported for several accounts of sexual harassment against female students and staff members (American Civil Rights Liberties Union (b), n.d.).

The legal question was whether the ASU board had knowledge about the conduct of Henderson when they reinstated him to the university and dorms of residence. Finally, JK sued the ASU and argued that the university was liable for the incident since ASU reinstated Henderson despite being proven to be a security risk to both female students and female staff members. On the 30th of September, 2008, the district court presided over by judge Mary Murguia refused a motion for summary judgment placed by ASU. After hearing the proceedings of the case, the court ruled that the university was aware of the sexual misconduct of the accused. The court held that the school was responsible under the provisions of Title IX for the conduct of students. If the school had precise knowledge about the potential risk that Henderson posed towards the equal opportunity for female students and staff in the institution, it was supposed to take the necessary action (AAUW, n.d.).

On the 8th of January, 2009, a satisfactory agreement was obtained to settle the matter. This agreement stipulated that ASU should employ a nationwide student safety advisor. The advisor was to be tasked with the responsibility of carrying out reforms and reviews of the existing procedures for investigating and reporting cases of sexual harassment and assault. The university was also to award the plaintiff fees and damages amounting to $850,000 (Munson, 2009).

References

AAUW, (n.d.). Breaking through barriers for women and girls. Web.

American Civil Right Liberties Union (a). (n.d.). Because freedom can’t protect itself. Web.

American Civil Right Liberties Union (b). (n.d.). Title IX and Sexual Violence in Schools. Web.

Munson, L. (2009). Web.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Arizona Campus Sexual Assaults." May 6, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/arizona-campus-sexual-assaults/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Arizona Campus Sexual Assaults'. 6 May.

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