Second EIU student says she was sexually assaulted by athlete

University allowed him to play rest of season

JJ Bullock, Editor-in-Chief

Update 9:32 p.m. Monday:

In a statement to The Daily Eastern News, Eastern said via spokesperson Josh Reinhart its policies and procedures handling sexual assaults have never included disciplinary input from coaches or athletic administrators.

Eastern’s Monday night statement was strongly refuted by the professor who served on the Title IX board in this investigation and came forward to The DEN as a source in this article.

The statement from Eastern read:

To be absolutely clear, EIU’s policies and procedures do not and have never included input on disciplinary recommendations or decisions from coaches and/or athletic administrators. Nor do those policies or procedures allow external individuals to broadly overrule any disciplinary decisions resulting from a multi-layered review. Claims to the contrary are inaccurate and entirely false.”

The anonymous professor and Title IX board member who came forward and said that Eastern did allow a coach to handle the discipline of an athlete said Eastern’s statement is not true.

Second woman comes forward with sexual assault claims at Eastern

A second Eastern student came forward this week and said she was sexually assaulted by a member of the Eastern football team while at school.  He was allowed to continue playing for the team this season, despite her informing the school of the assault and the player being found in violation of the student conduct code after a Title IX investigation 

The woman, who wished to have her name kept anonymous for privacy, said she was sexually assaulted by a member of Eastern’s football team in September 2019. The student said she reported the assault to the university and a Title IX investigation was conducted, which eventually found the player guilty and recommended that he be suspended from the team.  

Despite the recommendation that he be suspended, the athlete was allowed to play the rest of the season.

An Eastern professor who served on the Title IX investigation and remained anonymous, said after the recommendation was given that the player be suspended, university officials, including Vice President of Student Affairs Lynette Drake, decided it would be best for the coaches, not the members of the student standards board, to decide the player’s fate.

The source said Drake told them coaches’ punishments are typically harsher.

He was allowed to continue playing.  

The professor who served as part of the investigation said along with Drake, Eastern President David Glassman, Athletic Director Tom Michael and Heather Webb, the director of student accountability and support, knew of the assault and the recommendation the player be suspended from the team, yet he finished the season on the field.  

The professor said the investigating board took their concerns about why the player was still playing to Drake and Glassman, and were met with little interest from the administrators. 

This is the second time in a week an Eastern student has said they were sexually assaulted by an athlete at the school who was allowed to continue playing after top school officials, including Glassman and Michael, were made aware of the assault.  

Night of the assault 

The woman who has come forward in this case said she was assaulted by a football player after attending a party on Fourth Street the Saturday night after an Eastern home football game in September.  

She said a friend of hers met up with a man she met on the dating app Tinder at the party, who then invited her back to his apartment. Her friend was not comfortable going to the apartment alone, so the woman agreed to tag along.  

It was later at the apartment she said she was sexually assaulted by a member of Eastern’s football team.  

Her friend and the man she met on Tinder retreated to his room at the apartment, leaving her alone with the football player. She said the player asked if she wanted to hang out in his room and she agreed, while making it clear she just wanted to hang out and talk. This is when she said he began to sexually assault her for over an hour, saying he “didn’t understand what no meant.” 

“Your body has a flight or fight mode and sometimes when you are experiencing trauma this can cause you to freeze. Which is what happened to me,” she said. “I couldn’t fight. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t yell. I just froze.” 

She said she waited for the player to fall asleep before she left, returned to her dorm room, called the Sexual Assault Counseling and Information Service and began to cry.  

She took her case and story to the school and a Title IX investigation was held which found the player in violation of the student conduct code. 

JJ Bullock can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].edu.