The legal battle between Rose McAvoy ’20 and the college continues as McAvoy and her lawyers have filed a new complaint against the school in response to their October motion to dismiss the lawsuit against Dickinson for failing to efficiently investigate her 2017 assault on campus.
In August 2020, McAvoy filed a lawsuit against the college, claiming that the college had failed to investigate her assault in a time-efficient and transparent matter. The Dickinsonian reported on Aug. 4 that McAvoy also said the college redacted half of her investigative materials—an action McAvoy claimed violated her negotiations with the college administration.
The college filed the motion to dismiss the initial lawsuit on Oct. 2, two months after McAvoy’s complaint. According to General Counsel for the college Kendall Isaac, the motion was filed because “The college does not believe it was deliberately indifferent in the handling of her case.” Isaac continued that the college is disappointed in McAvoy’s court pursuit after following initial negotiations in Feb. 2020.
Now, in response to this motion, McAvoy and her lawyers have filed a new complaint against the college following their motion to dismiss. According to McAvoy, the complaint reinforces her initial case, that the college failed to take action against the student that assaulted her. “[W]hat we are trying to emphasize now is the fact that it’s very clearly laid out where he (the respondent) explicitly said he assaulted me, and they (the college) didn’t do anything,” McAvoy said. The college now has 30 days to respond to the complaint.
The college’s motion to dismiss McAvoy’s lawsuit did not surprise her. “That’s all they can do is argue that my case isn’t strong enough,” she said.
Since the negotiations between McAvoy and college administration in February, the college has continued to update their Title IX agreements. As of the Nov. 2020 update, Dickinson has hired a full-time Investigator in addition to developing an anonymous online reporting system.
Isaac explained that the college will continue to honor their agreement with McAvoy regardless of the case’s result. “Our goal remains the same – to engender trust in how we handle Title IX cases, to stay in compliance with the new regulation, and to ensure that all of our students involved in cases are treated fairly,” he said.
A judge will rule whether to move forward or not with the case. According to McAvoy, the outcome and impact of her work outweighs the longevity of her case. “I think that’s what makes it worth it and easier for me to do,” McAvoy said, “the fact that it can hopefully actually help people at Dickinson in the future.”