FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) – Weeks after the University of Arkansas was mentioned in a Title IX lawsuit, one of the women who filed a complaint against the university decided to share her story with the public.
“Seeing as there are multiple complaints against this university, obviously I am not the only one who thinks there is a problem,” said Kayla Kimball, who originally filed a complaint against the university in 2015.
Kimball confirmed her case against the university was one of the two recently opened by the federal investigation. She said her abuse started in 2014, and lasted more than one year. According to Kimball, the abuse happened both on and off campus.
“[The accused assault suspect] made me believe I couldn`t do anything without him,” Kimball said.
Kimball said the mental and physical abuse carried over into her time on campus, and she shared the same degree and several classes with her accused suspect.
“He just kind of forced his way into my life, every aspect of my life,” Kimball said.
Kimball said one portion of her complaint is centered on the university allegedly not taking proper action to make her learning environment accessible without her accused assailant nearby.
“I was hoping that my school could protect me from having to have classes with him, and having to be around him all the time,” Kimball said. “Because, I was terrified of going to those classes.”
The University of Arkansas sent 5NEWS a statement, which said it felt the the situation was handled properly. The university could not directly comment on the investigation due to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and could only issue brief comments.
“Generally speaking, the university has investigated all reported cases of sexual misconduct and feels that it has responded appropriately and in a proactive manner,” said Mark Rushing, Assistant Vice Chancellor at the University of Arkansas.
Kimball also claimed the University of Arkansas did not respond in a quick and timely manner to her complaint, as Title IX rules detail. Kimball said she was under the impression the university only had 60 days to handle the complaint. However, she claimed the university took more than four months to complete the investigation.
However, Rushing said the university handled the situation within the limitations allowed by the Office of Civil Rights.
“There are circumstances that would extend the process - including breaks in the academic year that might prohibit complainants, respondents, and potentially other witnesses from being able to participate in the process” Rushing said.
Kimball said she applauded investigators for opening her case, in order to further investigate.
“This investigation is needed so the school can fix these problems they are having,” Kimball said.
State Representative Greg Leding said he will work with professors at the University of Arkansas to create a study of students. He told 5NEWS he hoped the study would help gather more details of sexual assault on campus, and how it impacts students.