J.K. v. Arizona Board of Regents
What's at Stake
The plaintiff in this case, a student at Arizona State University (“ASU”), was raped in her dormitory room by an ASU football player. ASU administrators had expelled the harasser for severe sexual harassment of multiple women at ASU over the summer, and then weeks later arranged to re-admit him – with no supervision – to ASU and to the ASU dorms where he raped the plaintiff a few months later.
In February 2008, the ACLU Women’s Rights Project, joined by the ACLU of Arizona and six other leading women’s advocacy organizations, filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the plaintiff. The brief argued to the United States District Court for the District of Arizona that ASU is liable under Title IX for the rape and for the related discrimination suffered by the plaintiff, because ASU knew that the football player in question was a serial sexual harasser.
On September 30, 2008, United States District Judge Mary Murguia denied ASU’s motion for summary judgment. Citing WRP’s brief and relying on statements ASU made in its response to WRP’s brief, Judge Murguia held that ASU had “actual knowledge” of the alleged harassment.
On January 8, 2009, a favorable settlement agreement was reached, requiring ASU to appoint a statewide Student Safety Coordinator who will review and reform policies for reporting and investigating incidents of sexual harassment and assault, and awards the plaintiff $850,000 in damages and fees.