University of Arkansas, ex-student settle in rape lawsuit

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — The University of Arkansas and a former student reached a settlement agreement in a lawsuit alleging school officials acted with “deliberate indifference” after she reported being sexually assaulted by another student on campus.

The student will receive $100,000 in the settlement, with another $15,000 going to her attorneys to cover legal expenses. A jury trial had been scheduled for March, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

Both sides filed a joint stipulation on Monday in U.S. District Court in Fayetteville that the case be dismissed with prejudice, so it cannot be filed again. The university released the settlement agreement to the newspaper.

“The plaintiff in this case and the University of Arkansas agree that it would be mutually beneficial to avoid continued litigation. The process of litigating the facts of this case has continued for several years and had the potential of continuing for years into the future,” the student and university said in a joint statement.

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The student, who was 19 when she reported the attack October 2014, filed the Title IX lawsuit in 2016. Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination at schools receiving federal funding.

“I hope that the University’s commitment to raise awareness and fight against sexual assault on campus continues to be a priority. It is crucial that colleges proactively prevent and respond to claims of sexual harassment and sexual violence, as well as provide resources and accommodations to survivors of campus sexual assault,” the plaintiff said in a statement as part of the settlement.

In November, U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III ruled the student could move ahead with the lawsuit after the university’s attorneys filed a motion seeking summary judgement in their favor.

Holmes had dismissed “pre-assault” allegations that UA should have done more to keep the accused assailant from campus given a history that included an arrest and a previous suspension. He cited the “misleading nature” of communication as part of the appeals process and an “arguable reluctance to provide accommodations.”

The alleged assailant is not facing criminal charges.

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