Nadia Raza, a teacher at Lane Community College in Eugene, Ore., is suing the school after they allegedly "failed to respond effectively" when a student harassed and stalked her, supposedly targeting her because she is a Muslim woman of Pakistani origin.
“Lane’s response made a terrifying situation much worse,” Ms. Raza said in a statement. “As a faculty member, I rely on our college to provide a safe and non-discriminatory work environment and respond with expertise when it’s needed.”
Raza alleges in the lawsuit that the student, who's identified in the document as S.S., enrolled in her class on race and ethnicity in January 2014, and almost immediately began behaving strangely:
Things quickly deteriorated, according to the lawsuit:
When she filed a complaint with college administration the following month, in February 2014, Raza said officials cited the student for harassment under the school's code of conduct. They held a student conduct hearing—but according to the lawsuit, that hearing did not include Raza, who was also barred from learning details about the hearing's outcome, citing privacy laws.
Raza argues that the school's move was a violation of Title IX, which requires that people who file sexual harassment complaints at a school be given the option to take part and be kept informed about what follows. From the lawsuit:
Associate Dean Delansky did eventually talk to Raza, according to the suit, and told her that the student had been told to stop harassing her, adding that he was "a good kid" and that "rejection is hard."
During the month following the hearing, the student continued to contact Raza and became increasingly paranoid and threatening. In one email, the lawsuit alleges, he referred to a conspiracy run by the Sony corporation to have him killed and claimed to have proof that Raza was physically attracted to him. He also started emailing other female instructors at the college, making bizarre claims:
After what Raza alleges was a lack of substantial response from the college, she went to the Lane County Sheriff's Office to get a stalking protective order against him. But because the college was unwilling to release any of the documents related to the disciplinary hearing or give Raza S.S.'s home address address, police couldn't serve the order until two months later, in June 2014.
In the meantime, in May that year, S.S. was arrested by police after going to the same apartment building in Raza's neighborhood for the second time, asking for her. He was released after being cited for trespass and, according to the lawsuit, was seen again in her neighborhood. Raza has since moved.
A lawyer representing Raza told Fusion that she's still concerned about her safety, because she's not sure where the student involved is right now.
"As far as we are aware, the student is not incarcerated and is still in the Eugene area," the lawyer said. Raza has switched to teaching online courses only, and on a limited schedule, which the lawsuit alleges are conditions imposed by the college. Raza is suing the school for loss of income and benefits, but she's also seeking a court order for the college to be required to review their sexual harassment and student conduct policies.
A spokesperson for Lane Community College said they could not comment on current litigation, and that they could not immediately confirm whether the student is still enrolled at the school.