Report: KU paid $200,000 in settlement related to sexual harassment claim

photo by: Mike Yoder

In this file photo from Sept. 16, 2014, demonstrators sit outside Strong Hall to protest Kansas University's handling of sexual assault investigations.

The University of Kansas paid a $200,000 sexual harassment settlement last year, but who received it and why isn’t known, according to a report published Wednesday by The Wall Street Journal.

KU made that payment in August 2017 to “students or other alleged victims of harassment or assault,” but the university declined to provide further explanation or comment when contacted by The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper said.

That and four other sexual harassment settlement payments by KU are listed among 59 settlements from 22 universities and university systems in the article.

In total, public university systems with schools in the nation’s five major athletic conferences paid out more than $10.5 million in settlements related to sexual harassment claims in 2016 and 2017, the Journal’s review of recent settlements, gathered mainly through public-records requests, found.

Two of KU’s five listed settlements appear to be the sums paid to two former rowers who sued the university, claiming it failed to adequately respond to their reports that they were sexually assaulted by a football player and then retaliated against by their coaches after reporting what happened to them.

The Journal-World first reported in December 2017 that KU paid those women $395,000 to drop their Title IX lawsuits against the school.

After a federal judge then dismissed the highly publicized lawsuits in late November 2017, the Journal-World filed an open records request to obtain the out-of-court agreements revealing payouts of $245,000 to plaintiff Daisy Tackett and her attorneys and $150,000 to plaintiff Sarah McClure and her attorneys. Neither KU nor the plaintiffs would comment further on the settlements, saying only that the matters had been resolved.

photo by: Journal-World file photos

A federal judge has dismissed Title IX lawsuits against the University of Kansas by former KU rowers Daisy Tackett, top, and Sarah McClure, bottom, at the request of the plaintiffs and KU.

The two other KU sexual harassment settlement payments in The Wall Street Journal report are much smaller amounts but also mysterious.

One was an August 2016 payment of $1,645 to “students accused of misconduct” and the other was a November 2017 payment of $50 to “unknown,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

On Wednesday, KU spokesman Joe Monaco did not answer the Journal-World’s questions about the reasons for the $200,000 settlement in August 2017 or the smaller payouts.

Monaco, in an email, said only, “these matters have been resolved.”

Contact Journal-World public safety reporter Sara Shepherd


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