J.K. v. Arizona Board of Regents

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  • Equal Educational Opportunities
  • Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Joined Amicus Brief
2008

Determined whether Arizona State University is liable under Title IX for the rape of a student by another student who was known to be a serial sexual harasser.

Legal Momentum supported an amicus brief, authored by the ACLU Women's Rights Project, in this case. 

Summary of the Case

A first year female college student at Arizona State University was raped while sleeping in her dorm room.  The assailant, Henderson, was a first year football player who had previously been expelled from ASU's summer program for sexually harassing other female students. Despite the severity of his harassing behavior during the summer program, at the behest of the athletic department, ASU readmitted Henderson a few weeks later for the regular fall semester. Henderson was given no sexual harassment prevention training and the college did not monitor his behavior. Two months after the rape, Henderson was permanently expelled from ASU.

ASU asserted that its response to plaintiff's rape was prompt and appropriate and consequently it is not liable to her damages under Title IX. Plaintiff contended that ASU was deliberately indifferent to pervasive sexual harassment by Henderson and other athletes prior to her rape and that ASU is consequently liable under Title IX.

Decision

U.S. District Judge Mary Murguia denied ASU's motion for summary judgment and rejected ASU's argument that it was not responsible for what happened under Title IX. The case eventually settled for $850,000. ASU also agreed to appoint a statewide Student Safety Coordinator to review and reform the school's policies for reporting and investigating incidents of sexual harassment and assault.