Second Title IX complaint for UW-W: Student files lawsuit against UW-W following assault

Compiled by Kimberly Wethal

Nov. 11, 2015

 

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is facing its second Title IX complaint in 18 months after a sexual assault survivor filed a federal lawsuit in July earlier this year.

The information about the most recent federal lawsuit filed with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights was brought into the public eye last Thursday, when WISC-TV News 3 out of Madison, Wisconsin, ran a “News 3 Investigates” segment about post-baccalaureate student Raechel Liska, who stated that the university discriminated against her when she was still an undergrad.

Liska graduated in Spring 2015.

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based off of gender in any federally funded program, according to the United States Department of Justice’s website.

“I was asking [UW-W] really to make me feel safe again on this campus,” Liska told News 3. “That’s all I wanted. I wanted to feel safe again … I got assaulted twice. Once by my attacker, which was the traumatic, horrific part, but again by the school, which was the betrayal.”

The Royal Purple reached out to Liska, but was not able to conduct an interview due to Liska awaiting legal counsel.

During the News 3 segment, Liska said the Dean of Students Mary Beth Mackin “violated her civil rights” by refusing to interview two witnesses to the sexual assault, along with not accepting her police reports or medical records taken after the incident.

The Army ROTC on UW-Whitewater’s campus intervened  to remove her assailant from her classes when Liska said in the segment that the university failed to intervene, three months after the incident.

“The reason I filed my complaint is because something here needs to change,” she said during the News 3 segment. “I thought the dean of students would be protecting the students, protecting me. She’s the dean of students. I thought I’d be her priority, but I walked out feeling like protecting the school was her top priority.”

Mackin died Saturday, Nov. 7, reportedly due to natural causes.

UW-W’s prior Title IX complaint, which was not an investigation through the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, was reported in January 2014, and involved a wrestling team recruit who allegedly assaulted a female student while spending attending an off-campus party the night of his visit. The incident also included other NCAA and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) violations, and resulted in the suspension of wrestling head coach Tim Fader. Among the list of violations: Fader’s actions in reporting the sexual assault to the City of Whitewater Police, instead of the UW-W Police Services.

Fader’s contract was not renewed by the university.

UW-W Marketing and Media Relations released a statement from Chancellor Beverly Kopper early Friday morning concerning the news segment that ran the night prior.

“I know that all across campus there are faculty, staff and students who are engaged in efforts to help promote a campus climate that is free from violence and discrimination, and I applaud those efforts,” Kopper said in the news release. “As a community, we pride ourselves on being a safe and welcoming place for all.”

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