Local News

Duke, Ex-Lacrosse Player Settle Suit Over Grade

Posted May 14, 2007 12:50 p.m. EDT
Updated May 15, 2007 6:12 a.m. EDT

— A former Duke University lacrosse player has settled his lawsuit against the school and a former instructor over a failing grade he claimed he received because he was a member of the team.

Kyle Dowd graduated in May 2006, two months after a woman said she was sexually assaulted at a lacrosse team party. The allegations set off a tumultuous few weeks in Durham, with almost daily protests by people who criticized lacrosse team members for a pattern of rowdy behavior.

The lawsuit, which named the Durham school and visiting professor Kim Curtis, alleged Curtis discriminated against Dowd when she gave him an F in a course on politics and literature. The lawsuit, which claimed fraud and negligence, said he had gotten Cs on his assignments in the class.

The lawsuit said the failing grade nearly kept Dowd from graduating. After he appealed, the university changed the grade to a "D," citing a computation error.

As part of the settlement, Dowd's grade was changed to "P" for passing. Neither side admitted liability, the school said in a brief news release. Other details weren't released.

The lawsuit sought $60,000 in damages.

Curtis was among 88 faculty members who signed their names in April 2006 to a full-page advertisement in Duke's student newspaper titled "What Does a Social Disaster Sound Like?"

"Regardless of the results of the police investigation, what is apparent everyday now is the anger and fear of many students who know themselves to be objects of racism and sexism," the ad read, in part.

The ad drew harsh criticism from supporters of the lacrosse team, who believed it painted the players as guilty before the facts of the racially divisive case were known.

Last month, all charges were dismissed against the three lacrosse players who had been charged in the case. Authorities said there was no credible evidence that the woman had been assaulted.