The Brigham Young University student who started an online petition to demand that an immunity clause for victims of sexual assault be added to the Mormon institution’s strict honor code has now filed a federal Title IX complaint against the university, the Huffington Post reports.
Madi Barney, a sophomore, filed the complaint to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights on Monday. That was the same day the university released a statement saying, “We understand the concerns that have been expressed about the reporting of sexual assaults to our Title IX Office.”
“We have decided to study these issues,” the statement reads, “including potential structural changes within the university, the process for determining whether and how information is used, and the relationship between the Title IX Office and the Honor Code Office.”
Ms. Barney’s petition now has more than 62,000 signatures. She and her supporters are scheduled to protest the honor code at noon on Wednesday just outside of the campus boundaries (a news release about the protest notes that students can be expelled for protesting on the campus). They plan to present the signatures to the office of BYU’s president, Kevin J. Worthen, according to a Facebook page for the event.
Ms. Barney, who says she was assaulted in September 2015 in her off-campus apartment, wrote in the petition, “It’s clear to me that BYU is not on my side.”
BYU officials have told The Chronicle that the honor-code process is separate from its investigation of sexual-assault complaints under the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX. Carri P. Jenkins, a university spokeswoman, wrote in an email to The Chronicle last week that, “in some cases an honor-code review could follow the Title IX investigation.”