United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
G. CARR SR. U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Title IX suit, plaintiff seeks damages against defendant
Taylor University (“Taylor” or the
“University”) for its response to his sexual
assault complaint against a fellow student. See 20
U.S.C. § 1681(a). Pending is defendant Taylor's
motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 27).
reasons that follow, I grant the motion.
individual defendant Cameron Glass was plaintiff Preston
Klopferstein's roommate for the 2015-16 academic year. On
or about August 31, 2015, shortly after plaintiff returned to
the University for the Fall, Glass began sex-related acts of
harassment, including frequent nudity, unwanted touching,
including of plaintiff's genitals, urination on
plaintiff's bed, and similarly hostile conduct, including
a threat to kill plaintiff if he disclosed the misconduct.
September 4, 2015, Glass's offensive behavior culminated
in an attempt to sodomize plaintiff. At 11:00 p.m. that
night, plaintiff notified his residence hall's director,
Tyler Witzig, about his roommate's actions. That night,
the University placed plaintiff in other accommodations, and
he and Glass remained apart for the remainder of
plaintiff's enrollment, which ended on or about September
21, 2015, when plaintiff withdrew from the University.
the Friday on which plaintiff first informed Witzig about
Glass's activities was the eve of the Labor Day weekend,
the University did nothing further in response until Tuesday,
September 8, when plaintiff met with several University
officials, including the Dean of Students.
Dean wrote Glass on September 10, informing him that the
University was investigating allegations that he may have
engaged in acts of serious misconduct. Plaintiff filed a
Title IX complaint on September 11.
University then undertook an investigation. A Title IX
hearing ensued and culminated in Glass's dismissal on
October 6, 2015.
plaintiff had left Taylor, the University reevaluated its
decision to dismiss Glass. Prompted by his parents,
in light of medical documentation that they provided, the
University determined that Glass's behavior resulted, at
least in part, from Tourette's syndrome and obsessive
compulsive disorder. On the basis of that determination and
institution of remedial measures, it allowed Glass to
support of his claim for relief, plaintiff contends that
during the prior academic year, Glass had engaged in sexual
harassment and been the subject of a Title IX complaint. The
uncontested record shows that this contention is partially
true: Glass had engaged in sexually suggestive behavior
toward a female non-student housekeeper,
“embrac[ing]” her and making “kissing
faces” at her. (Doc. 38-2, ID 694). Though she had not
reported the incident, a colleague had.
the housekeeper was not covered by Title IX (so that no Title
IX complaint or proceedings occurred relative to Glass's
misconduct), the University conducted a follow-up inquiry on
learning about the incident. The housekeeper indicated that
she did not want Glass to get into trouble, as he was her
friend. The University counseled Glass and told him further
similar acts would result in his dismissal.
uncontested record also shows that plaintiff and Glass had
become acquainted during the prior academic year, when
plaintiff, then a freshman, and Glass, then a sophomore,
lived in the same dormitory. Plaintiff testified that during
that year, he became aware of various acts and activities by
Glass, including seeing Glass streak naked through the dorm
lobby, seeing “Vine videos” Glass had posted
online, in which Glass “made it look like . . . he
killed someone” in an elevator, or shouted
“penis, penis” on a crowded air plane,
seeing on another student's cell phone videos of Glass
“with other guys naked and some girls naked and just
doing all kinds of raunchy and inappropriate stuff in the
dorm room.” (Doc. 26, ID 161-63).
including plaintiff, reported any of those activities to the
having observed this conduct by Glass, plaintiff agreed to
room with him for the 2015-16 academic year. The University
acquiesced in their decision.
prevail on a Title IX student-on-student sexual harassment
claim, plaintiff must prove: (1) the sexual harassment was so
severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it could be
said to have deprived him of access to the University's
educational opportunities or benefits; (2) the University had
actual knowledge of the sexual harassment; and, (3) the
University was deliberately indifferent to the harassment.
E.g., Vance v. ...