June 7, 2014

SIUE transgender student says university failed to respond appropriately to assault report

A transgender student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville says she was assaulted by her roommate and the university did nothing about it. However, the university contends it investigated the incident and took the appropriate action.

The student's legal name is Andrew Lexington. However, Lexington, 27, identifies and presents as a female and prefers to go by the name Andrea.

Lexington said she was repeatedly physically and verbally assaulted by her roommate while she lived at the Cougar Village student housing complex on campus last fall.

"He didn't like that I was a transgender," Lexington said of her roommate.

She said SIUE failed to properly handle the situation and forced her to move on four separate occasions. She most recently lived in Evergreen Hall in a studio apartment by herself.

However due to the emotional stress of living on campus, Lexington said she has moved off campus and is currently living with her mother in St. Louis.

"I can't take the stress anymore. I can't stay at that school anymore," Lexington said. "The stress is killing me. They aren't doing anything to help me."

SIUE spokesman Doug McIlhagga said SIUE police investigated the complaint filed by Lexington, but found no evidence of the alleged assaults.

"There was a significant time delay between the alleged incidents and the report," he said. "In reference to other complaints filed by Lexington, those complaints have been addressed by various SIUE offices pursuant to university policies."

Lexington said she has filed a harassment report against one university official with the SIUE Police Department.

The News-Democrat obtained a copy of the complaint filed April 30. The names were redacted and the report states the case is closed.

"My grades plummeted last semester," she said, and "I went through a mental breakdown."

Lexington intentionally overdosed on prescription medicine March 21 and was rushed to Anderson Hospital in Maryville.

"My life (was) torn apart and nothing has happened to him," Lexington said of her former roommate. "This school is covering this up. What do you do when the institution you go to only protects itself?"

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