Despite the strides we’ve made towards gender equality, men’s careers are still typically seen as more valuable than women’s careers, not only in the form of higher salaries but also in the form of prioritizing men’s careers over women’s safety. This is true in almost every industry, but especially in college sports. Because college sports teams regularly bring in millions of dollars for their schools, colleges and universities often go to great lengths to protect their athletes and their athletic programs – even when it means sacrificing the educations and careers of female students.
Title IX is a federal law that was enacted to put a stop to these kinds of dangerous and discriminatory practices so women could feel safe on campus, and yet many women still struggle to access their rights under this federal protection. While many colleges all over the country have been accused of denying female students their rights under Title IX, Michigan State University is the latest to face a lawsuit alleging it denied rights guaranteed under Title IX to female students by actively discouraging them from reporting sexual harassment and assault conducted by members of the school’s athletic program.
Bailey Kowalski alleges she was raped by three men of Michigan State’s basketball team back in 2015. When she spoke to a counselor about it, she was allegedly advised against pursuing any kind of legal action as soon as the counselor learned her attackers were on the basketball team. At that point, the counselor insisted on having another person in the room with them, whereupon they allegedly warned Kowalski that any kind of legal action would put her up against some very “big fish.”. She was allegedly not told about her Title IX rights and was allegedly discouraged from having even a physical exam, including testing to see if she had become pregnant or contracted an STD.
Kowalski ended up dropping her long-held ambition of becoming a sports journalist as a result of the incident, but unlike many women who have survived sexual assault on campus, she is suing her school for allegedly violating her Title IX rights. So far, she has not named the three men who allegedly assaulted her, but she has said she is considering legal action against them as well.
This is hardly the first time Michigan State has had to deal with Title IX allegations. There is already a separate Title IX investigation into the school that has already dragged on for more than a year, and before that, the school’s president and athletic director were both forced to resign after the allegations of sexual assault came out against Lawrence G. Nasser, the former university doctor for Michigan State.
Additionally, ESPN reported last year on several allegations of sexual harassment and abuse involving members of Michigan State’s football and basketball programs. Many of those incidents had previously gone unreported and, according to ESPN, were handled entirely by the university’s athletic department, rather than the proper venues that are required by Title IX to handle such allegations.
Super Lawyers named Chicago and Oak Brook business trial attorneys Peter Lubin and Patrick Austermuehle 2017 Super Lawyers or Rising Stars in the Categories of Class Action, Business Litigation, and Consumer Rights Litigation. Lubin Austermuehle’s Oak Brook and Chicago business trial lawyers have over a quarter of a century of experience in litigating complex class action, consumer rights, and business and commercial litigation disputes. Our Title IX attorneys have represented students and College Administrators wrongfully accused of misconduct in internal school proceedings and in court. We also handle emergency business lawsuits involving injunctions, and TROS, covenant not to compete, franchise, distributor and dealer wrongful termination and trade secret lawsuits and many different kinds of business disputes involving shareholders, partnerships, closely held businesses and employee breaches of fiduciary duty. We also assist businesses and business owners who are victims of fraud.
If you’re facing a student misconduct action or business or class-action lawsuit, or the possibility of one, and you’d like to discuss how the experienced Illinois business dispute attorneys at Lubin Austermuehle can help, we would like to hear from you. To set up a consultation with one of our Chicago class action attorneys and Chicago business trial lawyers, please call us toll-free at 630-333-0333, locally at (630) 333-0333 or contact us through the Internet.