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Purdue University urges federal court to rule in their favor over Title IX case

Ben Thorp

Purdue University has filed a motion urging a federal court to rule in their favor in a Title IX case after a jury found the school retaliated against a student who came forward with sexual assault allegations.

In September, a jury found that the university treated the student, Nancy Roe, differently because she was a woman. But the jury did not find that two administrators named in the suit treated Roe differently because she was a woman.

The jury did find that those administrators failed to give Roe a fair hearing during the investigation.

Bill Kealey is an attorney representing Purdue. He said the jury's findings are contradictory.

“The finding by the jury that there was no equal protection violation by the individual defendants means logically there was no discrimination by Purdue under Title IX,” he said. “Therefore the verdicts are inconsistent.”

Kealey is requesting that the court either issue a judgment in favor of Purdue as a matter of law or convene a new trial over the Title IX issue.

“We think that the most logical outcome would be to enter judgment in favor of Purdue on the Title IX claim, because the jury has ruled in favor of the individual defendants,” he said. “If the court does not go to that bottom line, then the court also has the option to order a new trial on the Title IX claim.”

Kealey has also filed an appeal of the case to the United States Court of Appeals.

On campus, groups like MeToo Purdue have raised concerns that the case will have a chilling effect on students coming forward with sexual assault allegations - worried that they might see retaliation.

Kealy said people worried about false statement discipline need to understand how rare it is.

“The people who say that are not citing any statistics to show that these false statement discipline matters are frequent,” he said. “They are not.”

Purdue’s false statement policy also impacted a second student initially part of the lawsuit, Mary Doe, who settled out of court in August.

An attorney for Roe did not respond to our request for comment.

Copyright 2022 WBAA News. To see more, visit WBAA News.

Benjamin Thorp