Title IX investigation Concluded

Ryan Ogle

After wrapping up their investigation, the Shawnee County District Attorney has decided against pursing charges stemming from reports made of an alleged rape that was said to have occurred on Feb. 11 in Washburn’s Carole Chapel. Reviewing evidence related to the incident, which included interviews with all involved parties, video surveillance footage, text messages, emails and social media communication, led prosecutors to conclude that no sexual assault occurred and the act was consensual. In light of the district attorney’s announcement, Washburn University President Jerry Farley issued a statement on Tuesday, via email, saying that the Title IX investigation concerning the university’s response to the initial report determined that no sanctions against Washburn are warranted at this time.

A Feb. 20 article posted online by the Washburn Review about the alleged incident led to widespread concern from Washburn students about the university’s handling of the situation, specifically the decision to not issue a campus-wide i-Alert after the alleged assault was reported. Director of university relations Patrick Early defended the decision by stating that the incident did not place the student body in immediate danger. Farley’s email reiterated the university’s initial statement and added that Washburn acted in accordance to federal privacy laws. “While some would like me to discuss the details of this investigation and its conclusion, as in all cases, we comply with privacy laws and protect the confidentiality of the individuals involved, which limits my ability to discuss those details,” Farley stated in his email. “While this may seem confusing, given that the information was shared by someone else with KSNT-TV, and they have a report posted on their website, Washburn must honor its obligations under the federal law.” Farley’s reference to KSNTTV comes from a report aired by the local media outlet on April 15 that saw 20-year-old Washburn student Courtney Smith, who filed the sexual assault report, disputing the DA’s findings. While the KSNT report claims that Smith plans to appeal the findings, she has yet to respond to attempts made by the Washburn Review for further comment.