“direct and proximate result of the negligence of RISD and its officials”
The student was allegedly assaulted by a male classmate during a study abroad program in Ireland. Their housing bedrooms didn’t have locks.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
R.I. School of Design Ordered to Pay Alumna $2.5M
A district court judge ordered that the Rhode Island School of Design pay a former student and survivor of sexual assault $2.5 million for the school’s failure to secure her study abroad living quarters, according to a verdict filed in United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island.
The student, who is unnamed in court documents and later graduated from RISD, was raped by a male RISD student during a three-week program based in Ireland in 2016, said the verdict, which was filed Feb. 2. Both students lived in the same house during the program, and each student had a separate bedroom that did not lock. Students were not provided with keys to the bedrooms, the verdict said. The male student entered the female student’s bedroom while she was sleeping, and she awoke to him sexually assaulting her, according to the court document.
The court document provides a detailed account of the female student’s challenges with post-traumatic stress disorder after she was assaulted, including how she stopped hugging her father and brother and has recurring nightmares about being “trapped or pinned down.”
The rape, and the female student’s subsequent mental health struggles, were a “direct and proximate result of the negligence of RISD and its officials,” John McConnell Jr., chief judge for the district court, wrote in the verdict. The danger was also “foreseeable” for school officials; a different student was raped in 2013 during an RISD program in Rome that housed both male and female students together without bedroom doors that could lock, McConnell wrote.
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