A federal judge has determined that a female student’s “allegation” that the University of Georgia fostered a discriminatory environment that resulted in her being sexually assaulted by several student-athletes to be “wholly unsupported,” dismissing her claim.
Tiffany Williams had claimed that she was sexually assaulted in January 2002 by University of Georgia basketball teammates Tony Cole and Steven Thomas, and football player Brandon Williams in a university dorm room.
Criminal charges were filed against the alleged assailants. Brandon Williams was found not guilty, while the charges against Cole and Thomas were subsequently dropped.
Tiffany Williams filed a civil suit last August, naming the university as well as UGA President Michael Adams, then-athletic director Vince Dooley and former basketball coach Jim Harrick as defendants.
Among other things, Williams claimed that the university’s policies violated Title IX, and that the failure of the university to take appropriate remedial actions led to her withdrawal from the university.
U.S. District Judge Charles A. Pannell disagreed, writing that Williams “has set forth no facts to indicate that she has been treated differently than male students, who were harassed by other students. (She) does not allege in either her initial complaint or in its amendments that male victims of student-on-student harassment were treated differently than female victims of student-on-student harassment.”
The judge also disagreed that the university’s remedial actions were lacking, writing that he did “not find that the university’s response was clearly unreasonable under the circumstances.”
Finally, he concluded that the plaintiff’s claims that the university’s inaction resulted in her withdrawal to be dubious.
“(Her) complaint indicates that she withdrew almost immediately after the assault. Therefore, it is probable that she withdrew before action could be taken against her assailants.”