Response to lawsuit from FSU President John Thrasher

Florida State University is disappointed to learn of this lawsuit. The University has not yet been served and will need time to review the complaint fully before we respond in detail.

After a year of selective news leaks and distorted coverage, Florida State looks forward to addressing these meritless allegations in court. Evidence will show that through its confidential Victim Advocate Program, FSU did everything the plaintiff asked for and that the assertions FSU shirked its Title IX obligations are false.

In all, the University asked the plaintiff or her attorneys at least nine times over nearly 20 months to give a statement that would enable a Title IX investigation. FSU did not ignore the complainant or its obligations under Title IX.

FSU’s handling of this matter was driven by the plaintiff’s deliberate and informed choice on how to proceed, not by Athletics.

The University’s victim advocates were at the plaintiff’s side within hours of the encounter and continued meeting with or contacting her or her representatives at least 30 times over the ensuing year. Besides offering emotional support and arranging numerous academic accommodations on her behalf, they informed the plaintiff and her attorney five times about the right to pursue a student disciplinary action. The first was in December 2012–before the Athletics Department ever became aware of the allegation–and the last was in December 2013.

Then, after the plaintiff hired new attorneys, the University extended the invitation four more times before her attorney finally consented to a Title IX interview in early August, after making FSU wait because they were unavailable in the summer months.

The University went to great lengths to protect the rights and integrity of the student conduct code process. It compiled more than 1,000 pages of documents and turned the matter over to a former Florida State Supreme Court judge, who was briefed on all procedures and rules. He held a two-day hearing, heard from the plaintiff, the respondent and 10 witnesses before releasing his decision far earlier than the mandatory deadline of January 5.

For many years Florida State University has had excellent victim-centered policies with regard to sexual violence. The University recently conducted an exhaustive review and took additional steps to further ensure it employs the very best practices.

Florida State University does not tolerate sexual violence in any form, regardless of who the alleged perpetrator might be.