The Collegian
Thursday, February 29, 2024

University of Richmond student files complaint with DOE over Title IX case

In the wake of a Title IX investigation on Richmond, a student has spoken out about the university's handling of her sexual assault case.

Update as of 4:45 p.m. Sept. 7: University of Richmond responded to a Westhampton College student's allegations of the administration's mishandling of her sexual assault investigation in the fall of 2015, calling her accusations "inaccurate," in a campus-wide email sent to the student body Wednesday.

A University of Richmond student has filed a complaint with The Department of Education for the university's mishandling of a sexual assault that occurred in the summer of 2015, the student told The Collegian.

Cecilia Carreras, a Westhampton College student, published an account of her assault today in the Huffington Post contributor network. She has spoken with attorneys from The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and is awaiting confirmation as to whether another official investigation into the university will be opened, she said. 

In her piece, Carreras wrote she was assaulted by a student athlete and later reported it to University of Richmond administrators. According to Carreras's piece, an administrator told her "that it was reasonable for him to penetrate me for a few more minutes if he was going to finish." 

Carreras wrote that "a physical assault investigation, a 10-hour hearing, a 93-page appeal, and nine no contact violation reports" resulted from her case but that the accused student remains on campus and involved with athletics.

"I really just want someone to say sorry," she told The Collegian via e-mail. "I always felt like they didn't believe me and held me to a higher standard than they did him."

The university, its Title IX Office and the Richmond Athletic Department all elected not to comment at this time.

University of Richmond defines sexual assault as "any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs by force or without the consent of the recipient of the unwanted sexual activity." 

According to The Collegian's campus-wide survey published in March of 2015, 12.6 percent of students who responded reported being sexually assaulted during their time at Richmond. 

Richmond is currently under investigation by the Department of Education for potential violations of federal law pertaining to the handling of Title IX investigations. In June 2014, Richmond was named one of more than 190 schools that are now under investigation. The DOE visited Richmond's campus in March 2015 and thus far, no results of the investigation have been released.

More recently, Beth Curry, the former coordinator of campus education, awareness and prevention efforts for sexual assault, left the university after concerns about her job security. Curry's position at Richmond was jointly funded with a position at VCU from the Department of Justice and was set to expire in September. 

Carreras wrote that the university's problematic handling of sexual assaults was made worse by Curry's departure. Though Carreras has "every reason to hate Richmond," she told The Collegian that there were resources on campus that did provide her with everything "she needed to survive."

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

"It's not easy to be vulnerable, but I think that if I can help one person think differently about sexual assault or help one girl realize that she isn't alone in this ... then I've done my part," Carreras said. "I 100 percent do not regret coming forward."

Contact editor-in-chief Charlie Broaddus at or managing editor Lindsay Schneider at

To submit an anonymous tip, click here

Support independent student media

You can make a tax-deductible donation by clicking the button below, which takes you to our secure PayPal account. The page is set up to receive contributions in whatever amount you designate. We look forward to using the money we raise to further our mission of providing honest and accurate information to students, faculty, staff, alumni and others in the general public.

Donate Now