This time of year basketball dominates the headlines. Nowhere is that more true than Kansas. However, as the men’s basketball team prepares for their March Madness run, the Dallas Morning News is reporting very serious allegations involving the university, and a member of the Jayhawk football team. According to a lawsuit filed by the alleged victim’s parents, a former member of the Kansas rowing team was allegedly raped by an unnamed football player in November of 2014 inside campus housing, and accuses the school of “misleading the public by representing campus housing as safe”, and of failing to “protect her from harassment by her attacker”.
The suit was filed in Kansas by the parents of Daisy Tackett, who enrolled at KU as a freshman in the fall of 2014. In November of that year, the suit says, she was raped in a university dorm that housed many members of the football team and other athletes.
Generally, The Dallas Morning News does not identify rape victims by name, but in an extensive interview last month, Tackett asked that her name be used. Her parents’ suit, filed as a class action, said the university, “in its attempts to solicit students to enroll,” has repeatedly lied by claiming that its residence halls are safe. As a result, it suggested, countless students have fallen victim to sexual predators.
“What happened to our daughter need not have happened to any other student,” Amanda Tackett, Daisy’s mother, said in an interview.
Daisy Tackett, who requested her name be used by the media, says that the night of the attack she attended an off-campus party, but “raucous behavior and the use of drugs made her uncomfortable”. She decided to leave the party, and that’s when she alleges a football player suggested they go to his campus apartment to watch a movie. Once inside the apartment though, he allegedly raped her and forced her to perform oral sex.
“I’m strong. I tried my best to get the kid off me,” said Tackett, who is 5-10 and 190 pounds.
“I freaked out,” she said. “It’s not like some stranger, abducting me and raping me in a stairwell. I was thinking this can’t be.”, she told the Morning News.
Afterward she claims she told two people about the attack, but didn’t initially report the attack to authorities.
“I knew that no one was going to believe it.”
She says that it wasn’t until hearing about another incident involving the same football player and another member of the rowing team that she decided she needed to come forward.
“At first I was reluctant,” she said. “Then I realized if he’s assaulted two people, he has assaulted more or will assault more if we don’t do anything about it.”
Upon reporting the incident though, things didn’t get better. In fact, she says they got worse. After reporting the alleged attack to Kansas’ Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, which oversees compliance with state and federal laws on discrimination, sexual violence, and more, Tackett claims that she felt “ostracized”, and was even left behind on a training trip the rowing team took to Florida, her home state.
She also claims the IOA was slow to provide services meant to help sexual assault victims like escorts to class, or campus parking passes. She even continued to run into her attacker on campus where he would yell at her, and call her “that bitch”.
She eventually left KU the following January, and returned home to Florida.
“She worked so hard for the academic and athletic scholarships, it’s devastating to see how much she lost,” her mother said.
The University of Kansas issued a statement Friday denying the claim that the university repeatedly lied about the safety of its residence halls.
“The suggestion that our residence halls are unsafe or that we misrepresent campus safety in our student recruitment is baseless,” the statement said.
According to the lawsuit though, there have been at least eight other incidents of sexual crimes in the past three years; two of which lead to the arrest of Jayhawk football players.
“We found an appalling level of violence, sexual violence and crimes against students on the campus.” Amanda Tackett said.