Updated: Ludlow responds to Medill junior’s lawsuit, denies allegations
March 9, 2014
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Updated, 5 p.m. Sunday:
The student’s attorney, Kevin O’Connor, released a statement Sunday calling Ludlow’s response to the student’s complaint “untruthful.”
The case will be a chance for the “factual inconsistencies” in the positions of both Ludlow and Northwestern to play out in court, O’Connor said, calling Ludlow’s response “absurd.”
“Ludlow seems to have taken the all too common ‘blame the victim’ position on sexual assault matters to a whole new level,” O’Connor said in the statement. “He isn’t just blaming the victim, he has actually attempted to make himself into the victim.”
— Ally Mutnick
Philosophy Prof. Peter Ludlow responded Friday to a Medill junior’s lawsuit against him, denying he sexually assaulted her and calling Northwestern’s subsequent investigation “flawed and one-sided.”
The student sued Ludlow last week, claiming he had violated the Illinois Gender Violence Act, which allows for civil suits seeking damages brought by victims of “gender-related violence.” In her suit, the student claims that Ludlow sexually assaulted her on the night of Feb. 10, 2012, in Chicago, after buying her multiple drinks and ignoring her repeated requests to return to Evanston.
Ludlow disputes the claims, saying he was unaware the student was underage at the time and denying ordering the alcohol she consumed. He also denied the student requested to return to Evanston that night or that he would ignore such a request if it had been made. Ludlow “admits that he and (the student) fell asleep on his bed fully clothed and on top of the sheets.”
In his response, Ludlow also criticizes NU’s handling of the student’s allegations, including the subsequent review conducted by Joan Slavin, director of the Office of Sexual Harassment Prevention.
Ludlow denied that “Ms. Slavin ‘investigated’ the matter,” and said he was never informed of the allegations made against him by the student. Ludlow says Slavin “refused to accept vital pieces of evidence,” including a security camera video from his building’s elevator and receipts from the restaurants and bars the two attended. Ludlow said in the response Slavin refused to interview people present on the night in question.
Slavin concluded her investigation in April 2012, and found that Ludlow “engaged in unwelcome and inappropriate sexual advances” toward the student and that his actions had violated NU’s sexual harassment policy.
Ludlow claims he sent a letter to Provost Dan Linzer in September 2012 asking NU to review the evidence but the University refused to do so.
Ludlow remains employed by NU, but will not teach for the rest of Winter Quarter. He canceled his scheduled class Tuesday after students planned a sit-in of the lecture. His status for Spring Quarter remains unclear.
The student’s allegations came to light Feb. 10, when she sued NU, alleging the University had violated Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in its response to her allegations. In a Feb. 21 court filing, NU denied Title IX violations, saying it had conducted a full investigation and sanctioned Ludlow appropriately, including by precluding him from receiving a pay raise in the 2012-13 academic year and rescinding his endowed professorship.
The student’s attorney, Kevin O’Connor, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.