Rape Case Highlights Inadequacy of Yale Sex Assault Policy
A federal judge dismissed on April 30 charges of breach of contract, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress made by a former student who claims she was raped while at Yale, but her charges of defamation and inadequate protection from harassment will go to trial. The plaintiff's lawyer, Robert Berke, believes that Yale violated Title IX in the way it handled the alleged assault. "Once an educational establishment is aware of a potential problem, they have an obligation to protect students from harassment," Berke told the Yale Daily News. "Yale didn't do that." University officials have declined to discuss the case, the News reported.
The Yale Women's Center has been advocating for reforms of Yale's sexual assault policy for over four years, including establishing offender profiling in order to aid victims pressing charges, but these reforms have been rejected by university administrators, according to the Yale Herald. Madhumita Lahiri, the Yale Women's Center director of political activism, said that the administration has argued there is no need for reform because of the low incidence of sexual assault, but there are indications that rape and sexual assault are underreported, according to the Herald. Though the October 2002 University Report on Campus Security shows only one incident of sexual assault in 2001 and two each in 2000 and 1999, the New Haven Rape Crisis Center received six calls from Yale students between September 2002 and January 2003, the Herald reports.
Berke expects the trial to begin sometime in the next few months, and said he is optimistic about the outcome, the News reports. Patrick Noonan, who represents Yale in the matter, said he expects Yale to win the lawsuit because he believes it adequately followed its procedures for protecting students from sexual assault. "Even if she was raped, that wasn't Yale's fault," said Noonan, according to the News.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .