PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A judge ordered the Rhode Island School of Design to pay $2.5 million to a former student who was raped while abroad on a three-week school trip in Ireland in 2016.
The ruling Tuesday found that the school had not provided students keys to lock their doors in the housing provided to them on the trip and that its negligence allowed the attack to happen, the Providence Journal reported.
The student, who was earning a joint degree with Brown University at the time, attended a three-week art program in Ballyvaughan, where she and other students were staying in four-bedroom houses arranged by the university and were not given keys to lock their bedroom doors.
Another student raped her the first night of the trip, the student said, and RISD later determined through its disciplinary process that the attacker had violated the school’s code on sexual misconduct.
A judge allowed the case to move forward last year after finding that while colleges should not be held liable for students’ misdeeds, the rape occurred in a bedroom provided to the student by RISD and that the student relied on the college to protect her from harm.
“We take allegations of sexual misconduct by or against our students very seriously, and we are dedicated to providing thorough, prompt and equitable responses to such allegations when brought forward,” Jaime Marland, a spokesperson for RISD, told the newspaper, adding the school could not comment on the case because of confidentiality.
Since the attack, RISD has formed a task force on sexual misconduct to examine its response to student complaints and installed a Title IX Oversight Committee consisting of students, faculty and staff to implement changes in how the school responds to sexual misconduct, Marland said.
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