A student is suing Brown for ‘badly mishandling’ her sexual assault case

Here’s everything you need to know about it

A former Brown student is suing Brown University over allegations they mishandled her sexual assault case.

Jane Doe, as she is named in the lawsuit, is taking Brown to court over claims a male student accused of drugging her with GHB was let off the hook because he is the son of a university trustee.

She is suing the trustee’s son and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity (where the drugging was said to have taken place), claiming she and friend were sexually assaulted by another male student later that night.

Brown and President Paxson have denied the allegations that they dropped disciplinary proceedings against the male student.

This case comes at the time of many other high profile instances of sexual assault on college campuses, and isn’t the first to make headlines at Brown this semester.

In an email that was sent out to the Brown community on January 19, 2015 after the case hearings and disciplinary proceedings, the university found the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity responsible for a list of violations, including the “spiked” drink – the fraternity was controlling beverage service at the party.

The university also announced the decision to revoke the fraternity’s campus recognition and housing for at least four years, though since then, the sanctions have been amended, and the fraternity can begin to petition for recognition in May 2017.

The fraternity maintains the individual who sexually assaulted the student was in no way affiliated with Phi Kappa Psi in a letter that was published in the Providence Journal. (Note: the letter falsely states that the results of the hair test were “conclusively negative” rather than inconclusive due to laboratory mistakes.)

At the time of the original investigation, initial findings said according to “a reputable external medical laboratory whose representatives had assured the university on three separate occasions that the test results provided conclusive evidence that one student had ingested the date-rape drug,” one of the female students had ingested GHB.

However, in February 2015, the same laboratory revoked its original results, saying upon a second investigation, the tests came back inconclusive for the ingestion of GHB for both survivors. In doing so, the evidence was deemed inadmissible, and the university dropped charges against the trustee’s son accused of serving the drug-laced drink. The university also found the student accused of sexual assault not responsible, claiming the survivor’s partial memory of the incident would prevent her from providing a concrete counterargument against the accused.

The case sparked uproar on campus. After the verdicts were released, students and the Brown community took to social media and public demonstrations in support of the survivors and to show their disgust at the turn of events. Student activists called for institutional change in Brown’s handling of sexual assault and the availability of resources and support on campus.

Using the hashtags #MoneyTalksAtBrown and #GHBGetOutOfRapeFree, students walked silently around campus with dollar bills taped over their mouths while holding slips of paper that read: “We are protesting the mishandling of cases of sexual violence on college campuses. We especially hope to draw attention to the way influence and money obstructed justice for the two women who were given date rape drugs at Brown. #MoneyTalksAtBrown.”

The case continues.

Brown University