Student files federal complaint alleging non-compliance with the Clery Act

Updated: May 21, 2019 at 7:15 p.m.

A student filed a complaint against the University in March alleging GW did not properly handle her Title IX case, Inside Higher Education reported Friday.

Senior Gillian Chandler filed the complaint with the Department of Education under the Clery Act, which requires any federally funded university to disclose crime statistics and security information to students. Chandler claims the University did not investigate a second report filed by Chandler in October after she accused a student of sexually assaulting her, and that GW did not inform her about whether the alleged assailant’s sanctions were changed or rescinded, according to the report.

Chandler also claimed the University did not investigate a second report that another student filed against the same accused student because of the pending lawsuit.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said GW will respond “accordingly” if contacted by the Department of Education about the complaint.

“We take our obligations under the Clery Act and other related federal laws seriously,” Csellar said.

Chandler filed the first complaint in 2017, claiming she was raped in 2015 at a party off-campus, the Inside Higher Ed report states. In January 2018, GW found the accused student responsible for the assault and prohibited the accused student from graduating for a year.

The accused student sued the University in March 2018, alleging that an Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities board was biased against him during the hearing process.

He alleged that Chandler changed her account of the incident several times between initially filing her complaint and giving testimony at a University hearing board. The accused student alleged in the suit that records of three phone calls made by Chandler prove she was “coherent” enough to consent to the sexual encounter.

The accused student was banned from campus until June 2019, and the University ordered the student to not contact Chandler.

Chandler filed a second complaint with the University in October, claiming the student contacted her on Facebook, according to the report. Chandler alleges in the complaint that the University did not investigate her accusations because the accused student filed a lawsuit against GW, the report states.

Chandler said in an email that she wanted to see if sanctions against the accused former student were still in effect after he settled the lawsuit or if he received “special treatment” from the University because of the lawsuit.

“The victims, at the very least, are entitled to know whether all of their courage and sacrifice put into the campus disciplinary process was for nothing,” Chandler said. “I simply want to know if everything I did was for nothing. I believe my school, at the very least, owes me an answer.”

The report states that a lawyer representing the University notified Chandler in March that the lawsuit was resolved, but the ruling was “confidential.”

The lawyer declined to tell Chandler whether the accused student’s original sanctions were lifted, according to the report. The lawyer said there was an “expectation” that the accused student would not contact Chandler, but declined to say whether the order barring him from University property was still in effect, the release states.

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