UTC student files federal complaint against University of Alabama at Birmingham
A UTC student has filed a federal complaint against the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
He alleged the university failed to properly investigate after he was sexually assaulted in Chattanooga by a UAB student.
Federal documents show UAB found the accused student responsible but revised its policy on sexual assault days later, saying the university could not take action because the assault did not happen on its campus.
Channel 3 typically does not name victims of sexual assault, but this student wants to share his story in hopes other students will not go through what he has.
"It is something you have to be reminded of every single day,” Blake Kitterman said. “When you go to this campus, and you see your dorm, and you know that's the exact room where it happened, and I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life."
Blake Kitterman said he was sexually assaulted in his UTC dorm room on November 12, 2016, by a UAB student who was visiting him on campus.
Records show Kitterman immediately filed a report with UTC.
He chose not to contact police, saying he thought he'd have a better chance of finding justice through the school system.
"We see how police treat victims,” Kitterman urged. “I was told by people that police would never take up my case; it would never get heard by a jury; it wouldn't go my way."
UTC contacted UAB, and UAB started an investigation.
Records, provided by Kitterman show it was determined the accused student violated UAB’s sexual misconduct policy and was responsible for non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse and sexual harassment.
He was suspended from campus.
"I thought it was done,” Kitterman recalled. “I just started crying, I started bawling."
Documents show the accused student repealed the decision and was found guilty by UAB's Title IX board for a second time.
On a final appeal, the Vice President of Student Affairs said the Title IX office could not investigate the case because of a policy change that happened days after the alleged assault was reported to UAB.
That policy change made it impossible for the university to take action because the assault happened off campus.
"They know what happened. They recognized it. They knew that he was guilty," Kitterman said.
The accused student was allowed to return to school.
Kitterman took his complaint to the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, which is now investigating.
He said the student won't likely face any punishment, but he wants the school to be held responsible.
"The fight with UAB will eventually end, but sexual assault never does,” Kitterman urged. “Advocacy is always needed."
Kitterman said he was happy with the way UTC investigated his complaint and worked with him.
We reached out to UTC and UAB about Kitterman’s case, both universities said they can't comment on the investigation due to federal student privacy laws.