Federal court affirms previous ruling, authorizes K-State petition
Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017
On Aug. 24, 2017, the Kansas federal court entered an order in the Sara Weckhorst lawsuit, again rejecting Crystal Stroup’s attempt to join the case as a co-plaintiff. The court affirmed its previous ruling that Ms. Stroup had not alleged a valid Title IX claim. Ms. Stroup claimed Kansas State University had liability for an alleged sexual assault in an off-campus, private apartment, over which K-State had no substantial control. But the court held that Title IX requires control before a university has responsibility. Ms. Stroup asked the court to change its opinion, but the court denied her request. This reasoning again validates that K-State’s anti-discrimination policy PPM 3010 is compliant with Title IX as it focuses on conduct that occurs within the university’s educational programs and activities.
Also on Aug. 24, 2017, the Kansas federal court entered orders in the Sara Weckhorst and Tessa Farmer lawsuits that authorized K-State to petition the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to grant appeal of an important legal issue. This includes whether the plaintiffs’ claims should be dismissed because they do not allege that K-State’s conduct caused the plaintiffs to suffer sexual harassment after they reported they were sexually assaulted off-campus. The federal court’s order acknowledged that some courts have agreed with K-State’s position, and that it would be beneficial for the Tenth Circuit to issue a definitive ruling. If the Tenth Circuit grants an appeal and K-State prevails, the outcome could result in the dismissal of the plaintiffs’ remaining claims.
K-State remains committed to providing a safe learning environment where the rights of all its students are respected and its policies comply with all applicable laws. For more information, please see copies of the federal court’s August 24 orders.