BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — On October 25th, 2017, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC) student Blake Kitterman, with assistance from End Rape on Campus (EROC), filed a federal Title IX complaint with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights against the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) for knowingly maintaining a hostile environment by allowing a perpetrator of sexual violence found responsible by UAB’s own conduct process to remain on campus.
Blake was sexually assaulted by a UAB student. Afterwards, he reported the incident to the Title IX office at UAB. Blake was subjected to a process that lasted nearly triple the 60-day timeline for investigations recommended by the 2011 Dear Colleague Letter, which was in effect at the time of Blake’s assault. Eventually, UAB found Blake’s perpetrator responsible for violating three counts of the university’s sexual misconduct policy, which ultimately resulted in the perpetrator’s suspension. However, a few weeks later, due to UAB rewriting their policy, the perpetrator was allowed back on campus.
Blake wanted to appeal this discriminatory decision, yet he has been denied access to his records from this case. Furthermore, he was told that if he wanted access to audiotapes of the hearing, he must individually pay for a third party to transcribe the hearing where his assailant was found responsible. Even then, he would only be allowed to see the transcribed documents in a supervised setting for a limited amount of time.
It is clear from both Blake’s case and from cases of survivors like him that institutional failure to fairly and equitably adjudicate campus sexual assault still runs rampant. Yet, Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education’s recent rollbacks of protections for survivors further tip the scales in favour of rapists and perpetrators. We call upon the Department of Education to investigate this case against UAB, to consider the ramifications of what Blake and so many others like him have been subjected to on campuses across the country, and to continue to enforce Title IX and ensure protections for survivors.
For press inquiries please contact End Rape on Campus at firstname.lastname@example.org.