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Fontbonne University accused of failing to warn students over repeated residence hall break ins

Under federal law, colleges and universities that receive federal funding are required to disclose crimes that happen on or near campus

ST. LOUIS — Fontbonne University has been accused of failing to warn students about repeated break ins at Medaille Hall.

Lawyers filed a complaint with the U.S. department of Education on behalf of a student with disabilities after she reported back to back break-ins in February.

They claim that the female student may have been sexually abused and digitally recorded by intruders while she slept during one of the break-ins.

According to a press release sent by Dunn Law Firm, other students have reported similar break-in experiences.

“I hope that this complaint will change Fontbonne University for incoming students, who are unaware of their lack of security measures,” said a recently victimized female student. “It has been painful to realize that Fontbonne University downplayed serious cases like mine before and has continued to do so like nothing was wrong to sweep campus safety issues under the rug.”

Under federal campus safety legislation known as the Clery Act, colleges and universities that receive federal funding are required to disclose crimes that happen on or near campus.

5 On Your Side reached out to the university for comment.

The school released the following statement:

"Fontbonne University, including our general counsel, are not aware of any such lawsuits.  

However, the university has a long history of caring for our students’ wellbeing and takes safety seriously.

Of note, the university and the City of Clayton Police Department are both investigating a claim. The university has initiated its process following 2020 Title IX regulations and is fully cooperating with the work of the City of Clayton Police Department. To protect the individuals involved and ensure a thorough investigation, no further information is available at this time."

From the university’s policy:

Fontbonne University is committed to promoting an environment that supports its educational mission and preserves the safety and dignity of its members. All members of the university share responsibility for fostering this environment by adhering to standards of conduct. Sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, is a serious violation of these standards. Sexual misconduct is also a form of sexual harassment as prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the university’s policy on discrimination and harassment as found in the Student Handbook. The university will, as with any form of sexual harassment, take appropriate steps to prevent the recurrence of any sexual misconduct, and to correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others. The university will not tolerate any form of sexual misconduct or relationship violence as covered in this policy.

FU students who have experienced residence hall break-ins and anyone who may have observed suspicious activity occurring on FU’s campus are encouraged to report concerns directly to Clayton Police Department Detective Joe Stevens at 314-290-8421 and FU’s Title IX Office to aid in the resolution of this and other cases.

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