UConn: We responded correctly to sexual assault reports

The University of Connecticut told a federal judge Monday that it did not fail in its legal responsibilities when students informed school officials that they had been raped or sexually assaulted.

In a line-by-line denial of the five students’ accusations, the university offered no detail to show what was done.

UConn’s response to student Carolyn Luby’s accusation that after she reported she was being harassed, she never heard again from university officials or UConn police after a certain date. UConn wrote: “The University denies the allegation in Paragraph 44.”

The court filing provides no statement of when such contact was made before moving on to deny the rest of the students’ specific claims.

“The University denies the allegations in Paragraph 91,” UConn responds to student Kylie Angell’s accusation that she was offered no immediate assistance after her alleged rapist was allowed back on campus. The university acknowledges that the male student was found to have violated several academic policies related to the incident, but his expulsion was ultimately reversed after an appeal. UConn’s response provides no details about what help Angell was offered.

Erica Daniels, another student, says the “university has done nothing” to address the allegation that she was raped.

“The University denies the allegations in Paragraph 120,” the lawyers for UConn respond, offering no details of what was done.

The university also denies accusations by students that they were rarely updated on the status of their cases, providing no details of how the school communicated with the students.

The 38-page response to the students’ accusations echo the initial statements by UConn President Susan Herbst this past fall after the students announced they were filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

“The suggestion that the University of Connecticut as an institution could somehow be indifferent to or dismissive of any report of sexual assault is astonishingly misguided and demonstrably untrue,” Herbst told her system’s governing board.

She later said her comments were misunderstood, and said she was not referring to the students’ specific claims. “As long as there is a single sexual assault at any of our campuses, our work is not complete,” she said.

The next court filings in the civil case are not due until early May.

In the meantime, UConn lawyers told U.S. District Judge Michael P. Shea that the “defendant denies that the Plaintiffs are entitled to any of the relief sought.”