Education

Student Who Refused To Back Title IX Assault Claim Says School Threatened Her

A female University of Southern California (USC) student is claiming that the school’s Title IX office threatened her for disavowing accusations of domestic violence.

Zoe Katz, the girlfriend of a male student whose college football career was derailed by a “rogue” Title IX office at the school, alleges that the university threatened her because she refused to say her boyfriend assaulted her. Title IX investigators insisted she must be a “battered” woman for refusing to comply, she says.

Katz, who is the captain of the women’s tennis team at USC, says that the university ignored her pleas when it decided to launch a Title IX investigation against her boyfriend, Matt Boermeester, who they claimed assaulted her. Boermeester was suspended from USC this February following a report by a neighbor who alleges that they saw him beating up Katz the month before.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the claim was then repeated to a coach on his football team and made its way to the university’s Title IX office, which pursued a six-month-long inquiry on the matter.

In a two-page statement provided to The College Fix, Katz says that the inquiry consisted of “repeated interrogations” filled with “agendas, intimidation and falsehoods.”

She called the investigation “horrible and unjust,” and noted how Boermeester was suspended from the university even before he was interviewed by a Title IX investigator.

“I am told that I must be afraid of Matt, which I definitely was not and am not,” wrote Katz. “When I told the truth about Matt, in repeated interrogations, I was stereotyped and was told I must be a ‘battered’ woman, and that made me feel demeaned and absurdly profiled.”

“Terrible and untrue things have been said about Matt by people who don’t even know him, including apparently the third party who contacted Title IX, and these bizarre assertions have been treated as fact in this investigation,” she continued, adding that her words were deliberately misconstrued and removed from context.

Katz’s attorney Kerry Stiegerwalt told The College Fix that during the inquiry, the university ordered a no-contact order between Katz and Boermeester, even going so far as to reprimand her for speaking to a friend who was later called to testify.

When USC announced his indefinite suspension, Katz took to Twitter to state that the report was false. This also earned her admonishment from the Title IX office, Katz’s lawyer says.

A spokesperson for USC told the publication that it “stands by its investigation and the evidence, which includes accounts provided by multiple witnesses,” adding that they’ll only offer further comment should Boermeester waive his confidentiality rights.

The Obama administration’s Title IX mandate has no shortage of opposition as cases like Katz’s continue to make the headlines. Last month, its critics met with Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to discuss their concerns about Title IX and how cases are handled.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.