Five (5) Students, Jane Does, are suing George Washington University alleging their complaints of sexual assault and harassment were ignored by the institution. The suit was filed in D.C. Superior Court this month. The attorney for the anonymous women said in an e-mail to the Washington Post: “At GW, it seems as if the rights of the assailant trumped the rights of the women who had been assaulted and harassed.”
All 5 of the Jane Does were part of the University’s work-study program at the Institute for International Economic Policy. The complaint filed details the University ignoring their repeated complaints of a sexual predator in their office. The suit alleges that three students were raped and the allegations were ignored by GW. It further alleges that the women were systematically harassed at work by a fellow student employee, and that the workplace became “a nightmare, prison-like environment for the female employees.”
The suit illustrates the steps that the five employees took in attempting to report the incidents to their supervisor, to the University, and to the Title IX office. The University allegedly did nothing to prevent or investigate the students’ claims. Such mishandling of sexual misconduct by Universities is unfortunately common. For example, a very similar story emerged against GW just a month ago. If the allegations are true, there seems to be a systemic, institutionalized policy of ignoring women’s claims, failing to protect victims, and failing to investigate and punish wrongdoers. Hopefully, the administration is seriously thinking about how to change their policies and procedures so such things never happen to GW women again.