The University of Chicago Title IX Office is under investigation after a former Ph.D. student filed a retaliation complaint with the US Department of Education (ED).
Citing a lack of academic progress, Zain Jamshaid was dismissed from his program in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies. However, Jamshaid believed his dismissal was largely due to the Title IX complaint he filed in March 2020 against a UChicago professor, so he contacted the ED.
“To me, this is just slam-dunk retaliation for the sexual assault disclosures, because the program’s behavior toward me changed immediately … after I made it,” he told the Hyde Park Herald and The Maroon.
The original complaint mentioned a string of alleged incidents of sexual harassment occurring in 2015 and 2016. However, the Panel on Unlawful Harassment ruled in favor of the faculty member, stating that he had not violated the policy on harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct.
University spokesperson Gerald McSwiggan has denied the accusations leveled against the Title IX office, saying that it would be against the law to punish those who report alleged sexual misconduct.
“Any student or other person at the University who makes a report of sexual misconduct is legally protected from retaliatory action, and the University does not tolerate such actions,” McSwiggan added.
If proven guilty of violating Title IX, a likely outcome would be for the university to have its federal funding reduced because a financial subsidy comes from school enforcement of Title IX.
Weeks after his dismissal, Jamshaid started a GoFundMe page to finance his stay since he is an international student and his university-sponsored visa has been revoked. Donations, which have reached around $27,000, would be used to cover his costs of asylum and a possible lawsuit against UChicago.