Evanston, IL- A female student at Northwestern University recently filed a sexual harassment lawsuit, alleging a philosophy Professor sexually assaulted her, and school administrators ignored her complaints.
In the lawsuit, a student, who has not been identified, alleges Professor Peter Ludlow gave her alcohol when she accompanied him on a trip to a museum in downtown Chicago. When she repeatedly asked him to take her back to her apartment in Evanston, he refused and took her back to his apartment where she eventually passed out. The student alleges that when she awoke, she was in the Professor’s bed, the Daily Northwestern reported.
The student, who is currently a junior at Northwestern, said she reported the incident to the university’s director of the Office of Sexual Harassment, Joan Slavin. According to the suit, Slavin acknowledged the Professor’s behavior was inappropriate including sleeping with his arms around the student after they conducted an investigation. But the lawsuit alleges, the university took no disciplinary actions against the professor and the student continued to encounter him on campus.
According to the suit, a committee recommended Professor Ludlow be fired, but the NU refused to follow their recommendations.
Two days after the incident, the lawsuit states, the student attempted suicide. She was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and spent three days in the hospital. Since then, she has experienced adverse effects to her health.
The student is seeking compensation for her past and future medical bills, educational expenses and compensation for her emotional distress, according to the Daily Northwestern.
The University would not speak about the lawsuit specifically, but said in statement, “We don’t comment on pending litigation, but the University has policies and procedures in place to protect our students, and to address any such reported concerns.”
Professor Ludlow retained and attorney who said in his behalf he “vehemently” denies the student’s allegations.
Northwestern can be included in a list of colleges and universities across the country who have been accused of ignoring students’ sexual harassment and assault allegations. Northwestern University updated their sexual harassment and assault reporting policies in January of this to better protect students.
University of Colorado-Boulder, Yale University, University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill and others have faced investigations by the Department of Education for failing to take sexual harassment and assault allegations seriously.
Sexual assault and harassment on college and university campuses has become a major issue that is hard to combat since victims are reluctant to come forward. Many students who do some forward encounter the same problem as this Northwestern student; administrators fail to take corrective actions against the offending student, Professor, faculty or staff member.
Any person who has been sexually harassed, but had their complaints ignored can put an end to abuse by retaining a sexual harassment attorney. With their assistance, the harassment victim can seek compensation for their emotional distress, lost wages and any medical bills they incur because of their assault or harassment.