COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) The Texas A&M swimmer accused of sexually assaulting another student in 2016 has filed a Title IX lawsuit against the university in Houston federal court.
"Austin Van Overdam, who was wrongfully disciplined, is striking back," said College Station-based attorney Gaines West.
West said that Texas A&M, feeling the pressure from the Department of Education, and fearing the loss of federal funding, caved in and sided with the accuser, Hannah Shaw.
“The case was about whose story A&M would believe, because it was a swearing match," said West.
"Texas A&M, feeling the pressure from the Department of Education, and fearing the loss of federal funding, caved in and sided with Shaw. West said A&M's actions reveal their illegal bias against male students, like Van Overdam,"
Van Overdam is asking for a trial by jury.
According to the lawsuit filed, "Van Overdam has and will continue to suffer harm, injury, and damages including, but are not limited to, denial of educational opportunities, loss of scholarship funds, inability to transfer to other educational institutions, reputational damages including to his standing in the community, loss of career opportunities and future earning capacity, humiliation and embarrassment, and mental and emotional distress."
Editor's note: It is KBTX policy to not name victims of sexual assault or those making an accusation of sexual assault. It's also our policy to not name a person accused of a crime if no criminal charges have been filed. However, in this case, both parties have chosen to make public statements about their stories.
Texas A&M is declining to comment on pending litigation, and says Title IX prevents the school from commenting on cases like this.
On Friday, Texas A&M President Michael K. Young vowed "comprehensive" reviews of university policies and procedures related to sexual misconduct.
Young promised reviews of university protocols by both an internal task force and a third-party firm to test for "safety, support, sensitivity, timeliness and fairness to all involved that meets the highest standards.