This Lawsuit Shows How Colleges Are Failing Black Women

May 11th 2017

Five women say Howard University failed to protect them after they were raped by students and employees, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday. 

"The university’s actions have exacerbated and extended, rather than corrected, the resulting interference with the educational opportunities of each woman," the lawsuit alleges.

The former and current students at the historically black college said that after their sexual assaults, which occurred between 2014 and 2016, the school failed to follow it's own policy and did not investigate the cases. The lawsuit accuses Howard of showing "indifference" to the five victims. 

People on Twitter were outraged over the accusations in the lawsuit. 

One woman in the lawsuit said that a resident assistant who raped her in February 2016 still had a key to her room after she reported the rape. She later discovered through Twitter that the same man was accused of rape five months earlier. 

In March 2017, one of the victims  tweeted her disbelief over the fact the attacker was still at the school, sparking protests. 

Another woman in the lawsuit said she was sexually assaulted by a Howard campus police officer. She asked Howard for counseling services because she was depressed and suicidal.

"She told Howard that she was interested in arranging counseling services and by January 2015, expressed a greater sense of urgency for such counseling because she was having an extremely hard time coping with the rape, was extremely depressed, and was suicidal," the lawsuit states. "Two weeks passed without help from Howard."

Howard is not the only historically black college accused of failing sexual assault victims. 

In recent decades, these colleges and universities have suffered from a lack of government funding compared to others schools, along with poor management and declining enrollment, according to Business Insider. 

"With majority institutions, when a recession hits, they might go from brie to eating cheddar cheese," Marybeth Gasman, an education professor and head of the University of Pennsylvania Center for Minority Serving Institutions, told Business Insider. "HBCUs go from cheddar to nothing."

Buzzfeed reported that the widespread financial issues affecting HBCUs create obstacles for sexual assault victims seeking help, as the schools devote their finite resources to other needs.

RELATED: Howard University Just Received a Horribly Racist Death Threat

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