EXTRA EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! Judge Approves Groundbreaking Title IX Retaliation Lawsuit Against Drake
Press Release: In a first-of-its-kind Title IX retaliation case, a former 23 year member of the Board of Trustees of Drake University won the ability to move forward in his lawsuit against Drake University and its Board of Trustees for retaliating against him after he spoke out against the University’s improper conduct, including the wrongful sexual assault investigation of his disabled son.
Judge Rebecca Goodgame Ebinger for the Southern District of Iowa last week allowed the case to move forward with the following charges against Drake University and its Board of Trustees: violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, breach of fiduciary responsibilities, breach of contract, and retaliation under the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, the case is also proceeding under the Iowa Civil Rights Act and the Rehabilitation Act.
According to the complaint, Drake University openly discriminated against and targeted its disabled students and, together with its Board of Trustees, instituted a concerted attack on all those who dared speak out for the rights of Drake University’s students, including the plaintiff, Tom Rossley. The lawsuit describes how Mr. Rossley experienced first-hand Drake University’s wrongful treatment of disabled students when the school maliciously withheld necessary accommodations from his disabled son. As a result of his advocacy for his son and Drake University students, the Board, with the support of the University President, removed Mr. Rossley from the Board of Trustees.
“Drake University and its Board of Trustees will not succeed in silencing Tom Rossley in his advocacy for his son and other Drake students,” said Rossley’s attorney Andrew Miltenberg. “We are gratified by the judge’s decision and we will continue to pursue justice for this family, whose lives have been irreparably harmed by the unlawful, discriminatory actions of Drake University and its Board of Trustees.”
The plaintiff’s son also filed a lawsuit against Drake University in federal court in December of 2016, charging that the school violated Title IX equal protection clause, his rights to due process, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The case state’s that the University wrongfully expelled the student and refused to investigate his simultaneous charge that his female accuser sexually assaulted him on the same night of the alleged incident—even considering her own admission that she initiated in sexual conduct without his consent.
Additionally, the University failed to properly accommodate the student’s ADHD, anxiety, and language-based learning disabilities during the disciplinary process, despite the fact that Drake University is home to the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement, which lists advocacy for people with disabilities as one of its primary areas of focus. According to the lawsuit, officials at Drake University took advantage of the student’s language-based disability in order to railroad him out of the University. The student’s lawsuit was upheld by the same federal judge in August and is moving forward with discovery.
Questions? Contact Jeanette Hoffman (908) 418-0859