A Carnegie Mellon University student who was abused by her ex-girlfriend got dismissive treatment from the school's security and disciplinary units, according to a Title IX complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union's national office Thursday.
Identified as Gabrielle on the ACLU's website, the student claimed that she had her first relationship during her freshman year at CMU with another woman in her academic program. The girlfriend "became verbally and sexually abusive," according to the website, and then stalked the student after they broke up.
CMU faculty members set up a "no contact agreement" between the two, though they were allowed to remain in the same classes, according to the website. During sophomore year, though, the former girlfriend moved into an apartment across the hall from the student and engaged in "screaming and sudden violent outbursts," according to the blog post.
"Almost a year later, finally ready to say what happened and hold her accountable, I filed a complaint against her through the university's community standards process," the student wrote in a post on the website. "The campus police officer accused me of seeking revenge by making the report and questioned why I had been in the relationship if I was being so badly abused."
A University Disciplinary Committee this year found the ex-girlfriend guilty, but just ordered counseling and no contact, according to the ACLU.
"That sends a horrible message to our client, as well as to students generally," said Sandra Park, senior attorney at the ACLU's Women's Rights Project. The student "at the time was requesting certain measures such as possible suspension [of her abuser] because they are in the same program," but no such action occurred.
A CMU spokesman declined to comment on the complaint directly but wrote in an email, "The university takes very seriously its obligations under Title IX and its commitment to provide a safe and secure environment for its students and other members of the university community."
Title IX bars sex discrimination in federally funded education. The complaint goes to the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education, which can order changes to both the specific situation referenced and the university's policies. It cannot order monetary damages, according to Ms. Park
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1542. Twitter: @richelord.