A student accused of sexual assault, found responsible, and suspended in 2012 sued the university in federal court, alleging sex discrimination and due-process violations. A judge dismissed his lawsuit in June 2015.
The institution has affirmed its commitment to victims of sexual assault, collected resources online, held a Title IX conference, and promoted awareness, including with an “It’s on Us” campaign to prevent sexual assault.
Two former employees at USF have been accused of sexual misconduct. The university announced in June 2016 that it had fired the director of its communications school, Samuel Bradley, for hiding an investigation into inappropriate sexual relationships with students in his previous job at Texas Tech University. Mr. Bradley has disputed the findings of USF’s inquiry, as well as Texas Tech’s, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Meanwhile, a faculty member in USF’s English department, Marc Santos, was found in June 2016 to have violated a policy regarding sexual relationships with students, according to The Greeley Tribune. He had already been hired by the University of Northern Colorado.
This investigation is based on a former student's complaint that the university mishandled her report of sexual assault, altering her statements and ignoring inaccuracies in others’ accounts, according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights obtained by the Tampa Bay Times.
The office is investigating whether the university “failed to provide prompt and equitable responses,” the letter says, whether that created a “sexually hostile environment,” and whether USF “retaliated against the complainant by taking her off the work schedule [for her campus job] after she reported the sexual violence.”
The university has said that it promptly investigated the report.
TAMPA -- The University of South Florida is under federal investigation for possibly mishandling a sexual assault case, making it the second Florida school to face scrutiny since the White House created a task force on campus rape last January.
Sexual assault investigations have climbed to national attention in recent months, with cases like Jameis Winston's at Florida State ranking high on the list of 95 universities under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Education.