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Howard University is now facing a federal lawsuit, which is claiming that the institution failed to respond promptly on reports of sexual assault from some of their female students.
The lawsuit was filed by five female plaintiffs (who are being referred to as Jane Doe 1 through Jane Doe 5). The lawsuit is in connection to the five incidents which are said to have occurred from 2014 to 2016 at the historically black university. The unidentified women are now saying that the school issued retaliatory and discriminatory responses to different complaints of harassment and sexual assault.
The lawsuit says that Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 have been raped on different occasions, both by the same guy who is a transfer student to Howard. The supposed perpetrator has a history of sexual misconduct in UCLA. The victims reported the incidents to the university, whom they say failed to apprehend the accused, only acting once when one of the victims took to social media about the matter, eliciting a campus protest afterwards.
The student tweeted about what happened but the school’s Dean of Student Affairs criticized her action, telling her that the student embarrassed her family by doing what she did.
Included in the lawsuit are the claims issued by Jane Doe 3. She says that after reporting her sexual assault to a confidant, and then later to Howard officials and the police, she struggled to get counselling. The suit also states that Jane Doe 3 became extremely depressed and even experience having a hard time getting out of bed to attend school and work responsibility. She was reportedly suicidal after being raped.
Howard spokeswoman Crystal Brown came forward to defend the institution. In an email, she wrote that campuses across higher education consider sexual assault a critical issue. She says that Howard University takes matters like these seriously – domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and gender-based discrimination are all included.