UCO Named as Defendant in Lawsuit
Veronica “Tyler” Bors, a student at the University of Central Oklahoma, is suing the university for discrimination on the claim that UCO professor Kole Kleeman sexually harassed and/or assaulted Bors during a meeting at Kleeman’s home.
The lawsuit, which is still pending, was filed on Nov. 26, 2018 in the Oklahoma County District Court where the Board of Regents for the Regional University Systems of Oklahoma (RUSO) was named the defendant. However, the case has been moved to the Oklahoma Western District Court and on Dec. 27 was amended to add UCO as a defendant.
“It is our policy not to comment on pending litigation,” said Regent Mark Stansberry, the chair of RUSO and spokesperson for the Board of Regents. “We require universities we govern to take every complaint seriously and to investigate them fully and take appropriate action as warranted by the investigation.”
Kleeman, UCO and Richard Mann, the defendant’s attorney and current state of Oklahoma assistant attorney general, declined to comment on any open or pending lawsuits.
According to official court documents, this incident began on or around Aug. 31, 2017 when Kleeman contacted Bors, a transgender student, seeking advice on pronoun use regarding sex and gender relative to LGBTQ+ persons. Bors agreed to meeting with Kleeman to discuss this topic and Kleeman set the meeting to be held at his home.
The statement of facts, which were included in the court documents, stated that during the meeting Kleeman repeatedly made statements about Bors’ physical appearance, stated that Bors’ gender transition made him “horny,” forcibly tried to embrace Bors and kissed Bors on the head.
Court documents state after rejecting these advances and leaving the location, Bors reported the incident to the Title IX Office at UCO and through the Ethics Point link on the RUSO website.
According to the statement of facts, the defendants [RUSO and UCO] conducted an investigation on the incident and found in favor of Bors. Adrienne Martinez, UCO Title IX Cooridator, declined to comment on the investigation and its findings.
Under Title IX and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 discrimination based on sex and/or denial of benefits of education due to sex and/or sexual harassment is prohibited. Under both, Bors is entitled to compensation for all compensatory damages arising from the discrimination experienced, and is entitled to recover damages for the emotional distress and/or dignitary harms suffered as a result of such discrimination.
The actual damage listed within Bors’ claims is anticipated to exceed $10,000.
For more information on this case there are documents available through online databases under the case number 5:18-cv-01235-R. Documents can also be requested at the Oklahoma Western District Court.