Federal judge upholds dismissal of Title IX lawsuit against Northwestern

Ciara McCarthy, Editor in Chief

A federal judge upheld Thursday his decision to dismiss the Title IX lawsuit that a Medill senior filed against Northwestern last year.

The student sued the University in February 2014 under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, claiming NU didn’t respond adequately after she reported being sexually assaulted by philosophy Prof. Peter Ludlow. Judge Harry D. Leinenweber dismissed her suit in November, ruling that the University took “took timely, reasonable, and successful measures” after the student reported the assault.

The Medill senior filed a motion in December asking the judge to reconsider or vacate his decision. Leinenweber denied the motion Thursday. The student’s lawyers said Friday morning that they plan to appeal the decision to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

University spokesman Al Cubbage said NU was pleased with the court’s decision.

“As we have said previously, Northwestern is strongly committed to responding appropriately to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault,” Cubbage said in a statement. “As the court ruled again today, the University did so in this case. Northwestern complied fully with its procedures, conducted a prompt, fair and thorough investigation and took a number of corrective and remedial actions.”

The student’s suit spurred a campus-wide conversation about procedures for handling sexual misconduct and moved students to protest Ludlow’s continued employment at NU. In the past, Ludlow has denied the allegations of sexual assault. His lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. Ludlow is not currently teaching students at NU.

This story was updated at 11:45 a.m. Friday with new information from the student’s attorneys.

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