Suit filed against former University of Montana dean of students

Zoe Buchli

A federal lawsuit accuses former University of Montana Dean of Students Rhondie Voorhees of retaliating against an Arizona student for reporting a sexual assault.

Voorhees worked at UM from 2012 to 2018, when the university eliminated the dean of students position and terminated her contract. She now serves as dean of students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The lawsuit was filed Nov. 11 against Voorhees, the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Board of Trustees, the university and Tyler Smith, who the plaintiff, student Audrey Davis, alleges sexually assaulted her while she was sleeping.

Voorhees and Embry-Riddle allegedly threatened Davis for complaining how poorly the university handled Davis’ reporting of the assault to the Title IX office. The defendants “have tried to bully, intimidate and sue Davis into silence,” the lawsuit said.

“This is a case about a sexual assault victim being victimized a second and then a third time by an institution and its Dean,” the lawsuit reads. “ERAU and Dean Voorhees treated her with deliberate indifference and retaliated against her for exercising her rights.”

Davis’ alleged assailant, Smith, was another student at the university, so she reported the incident to the Title IX office, the lawsuit said. The university acted with noticeable

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