The University of Tennessee is the latest in the long list of institutions under scrutiny for enabling sexual and racial intolerance to thrive on campus.
Six women filed a lawsuit alleging the University of Tennessee violated the Title IX regulations and created a rape culture that promotes assault by student-athletes, especially football players — then uses an unusual adjudication process proven to be biased against victims.
The plaintiffs, who wished to remain anonymous and are identified simply as “Jane Does,” have accused five star athletes of sexual assault. The players, Yemi Makanjuola, A.J. Johnson, Michael Williams and Riyahd Jones, were immediately suspended from the team after the charges were announced against them. A freshman student also accused a non-athlete currently identified as “John Doe” of plying her with drinks and then assaulting her in her incapacitated state.
If all of that is true about the University of Tennessee football program then just wow.....death penalty for that program for sure— Bryan C (@bryan_croley) February 10, 2016
The lawsuit claimed the blame for the hostile policies for showing “deliberate indifference and a clearly unreasonable response after a sexual assault that causes a student to endure additional harassment" should be placed at the very top of UT’s hierarchy.
University of Tennessee’s administration, athletic department and football coach were aware and have had actual records of the previous sexual assaults, yet they acted with indifference and failed to take permanent, corrective actions, according to the lawsuit. The players, many of whom had recurring charges of rape, robbery and assault were favored by the disciplinary system, which withdrew charges and let them remain in good standing with the university’s football team, the suit alleges.
The lawsuit comes on the heels of two similar investigations conducted by the federal government after it received multiple complaints in June and July. University officials have said they are cooperating with the police.
The U.S. Department of Education issued a warning in 2011 of schools’ legal responsibilities to investigate allegations of such nature even if the criminal investigation was still underway.
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