MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – A former student of Visible Music College in Memphis has filed a complaint with the US Department of Education (USDE), saying the school and its administrators violated Title IX and the Clery Act.
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Mara Louk, the former student who came to Visible to pursue her dream to be a singer/songwriter and worship leader, claims she was raped by a classmate in November of 2021.
When she went to school administrators, she said her response was not what she expected.
“The school pretty much told me to just take the week off,” Louk recalled. “At the time, I thought ‘Oh. That’s generous. That’ll help me a bit.’ Then it became ‘you are only able to finish your degree online. You’re banned from campus.’”
Louk told us the school did not investigate the alleged assault, saying their reasoning was due to incident happening in her off-campus apartment.
Instead, she said Visible accused her of violating their rules against premarital sex with her ex-boyfriend around that same time she was raped.
Louk denies this story, saying the school made it up, and went further by saying she was told to sign a confession to break the rule and finish her classes remotely or be expelled.
9 credit hours from graduating, Louk did not receive her degree from Visible.
“It really made me regret speaking up,” Louk said.
“Visible refused to take any action against the perpetrator that Mara reported because it occurred in her off-campus apartment but then tried to remove her from school for what they alleged premarital sex in that same off-campus apartment,” said Cari Simon, Louk’s Attorney.
Louk and Simon filed a complaint with USDE, saying Visible violated both Title IX, which is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives funding from the federal government, and the Clery Act, which requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses.
“Undermining the victim and dismissing the victim and trying to make them the problem is a tried-and-true method of institutions that are trying to sweep sexual assault under the rug,” Simon said.
The school said they’ve not received an official complaint from USDE and therefore cannot respond with any further information.
“We take situations like this extremely seriously and our approach to supporting all students is rooted in just that – care.”
“I thought they would help me and support me and keep me safe. Instead they punished me,” Louk said.
Simon said she expects to hear back from USDE in the next several weeks on if they will investigate these complaints against Visible.
As for Louk, she is back home in Waukee, IA, still pursuing her dream, leading worship at her father’s church at Waukee UMC.
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