Title IX lawsuit filed against Augustana College

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 11:34 PM CST
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - A former student at Augustana College in Rock Island has filed a Title IX lawsuit in federal court.

Gorovsky Law, a St. Louis-based law firm, said in a media release Tuesday the former student reported to the college she had been sexually assaulted and that the college took “repeated retaliatory actions against her.”

College administrators further took her through a discriminatory process that did not end in any resolution and the perpetrator remains an Augustana student, the law firm said in the release.

“Augustana has historically silenced the survivors as they empower the perpetrators, and it’s time for them to be held accountable,” the former student said in the release.

Attorney Nicole Gorovsky said in the release, “Augustana had opportunities to be equitable and fair to the students in this case.”

“Instead, it chose to discriminate and retaliate against (the former student) for reporting that she had been abused,” Gorovsky said. “Augustana chose to prevent (the former student) from having an education free from sexual harassment and gender discrimination.”

Keri Rursch, assistant vice president of communications and marketing for the college, said in a statement to TV6 Tuesday:

We care about our students deeply, and we serve students fairly and equitably. Our actions are guided by our mission, values, and our community principles. And the press release you received does not reflect what we know to be true about the college or our policies prohibiting sex discrimination on campus.

Augustana College is committed to preventing sexual violence and sex discrimination. We have carefully drafted policies and robust procedures in place to respond to reports of sex discrimination, and our responses to reports are in accordance with these policies.

Augustana is firmly committed to the safety and security of our students, and we continually work with our students, faculty, staff, and others in the Augustana community to provide a safe and respectful learning environment.

Augustana reviews its policies and procedures frequently to ensure they reflect the latest guidance from the U.S. Department of Education and the needs of our campus. We hold ourselves to a very high standard. In 2019, the college received a Moxie Award from the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault (ICASA) for our efforts to improve the response to victims of sexual assault and develop prevention programming on campus.

While we will not comment on the particulars of any pending litigation, we remain confident in the college’s practices and procedures, and we felt compelled to share this information in response to the misstatements in the press release.

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