Panel to review Title IX case

Truman State officials granted an appeal and currently are reviewing a remanded Title IX offense case involving four Truman students.

Senior Duncan Holahan reportedly was harassed and threatened with assault by senior Connor Brown, junior Matthew Guignon and sophomore Roger Howard Aug. 21 at the corner of S. 6th and W. Dodson Streets. Holahan pressed charges against the three students and was granted an ex parte restraining order by the City of Kirksville.

The University initially found Brown, Guignon and Howard responsible for violating Title IX and the respondents appealed the University’s decision on the grounds of procedural errors. An administrative review panel currently is reviewing the case and making a final ruling. The verdict will be released in about two weeks.

Officers responded to a 911 call from Holahan at 1:55 a.m. Aug. 21, according to incident reports filed by the Kirksville Police Department. Dispatch could hear threats toward Holahan through the phone, according to the report. Officers responded to the dispatch, and saw Brown and Guignon standing close to Holahan at the intersection of S. 6th and W. Dodson Streets, while Howard stood a few feet away. Brown, Guignon and Howard reportedly denied making any threats, but Brown and Guignon were taken into custody for assault motivated by discrimination in the third degree, according to the report.

Holahan says he was escorting a female friend home the evening of Aug. 20 when Brown, Guignon and Howard began catcalling his friend outside her apartment building. Holahan says he told his friend to go inside when the three began targeting him. Holahan says they made comments about his clothing and appearance while standing about 3 feet away from him.

Holahan says he started walking down 6th Street when Brown and Guignon began following close behind him. Holahan says the threats escalated and he said they began shouting anti-gay slurs and threatening to kill him. He dialed 911, and the police arrived as Brown and Guignon approached him in an intimidating manner, he says.

After the incident, Holahan says he filed a request for an ex parte restraining order against Brown, Guignon and Howard, which the city granted. He says he contacted Truman officials about the incident and pressed charges against all three students.

“I thought that Truman students were better than this,” Holahan says. “And I still believe a vast majority of them are.”

Holahan says he approached the Title IX coordinator at Truman, and went over the incident and possible methods of prosecuting the group through Truman.

For more information about Title IX and and how disciplinary action is taken, pick up a copy of this week’s Index or read on Issuu.

1 Comment

  1. Awful to see this behavior, but in a school with 6,000 students there will be some who don’t want to get along with others. I say that so that no one thinks badly of Truman – this is solidly on the individuals in question, and while even those who despise others are entitled to _pursue_ education and other opportunities, they need to abide by the rules of the University as well as by the laws of the community in which they live in order to keep those opportunities open to them.

    I’m curious why this was a Title IX issue, and what was appealed in the first place? Was it a Student Affairs ruling? And who appealed? The alleged behavior – harassing Holahan and his acquaintance – is prohibited both under Title IX (a Federal regulation) and University regulations including the student handbook and DPS codes, not to mention municipal law (hence the basis for the restraining order). However, Title IX penalties are incumbent on the University, and if the University fails to address a hostile environment on-campus, it may suffer the loss of Federal funds. To my knowledge, the Title IX Coordinator may recommend penalties against the students but may not take unilateral action. Is that a correct understanding?

    I’d like to see a follow-up to this story. Student safety must be a top priority.

    Jeremy Loscheider
    Class of 2000
    St. Louis, Missouri

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