Calvin graduate sues university after allegedly drugged, raped on study abroad

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A former Calvin University student is suing the school after she was allegedly drugged and raped by her host student while on a study abroad trip.

According to court documents, in January 2020, the unnamed “textbook Calvin recruit” was a senior at Calvin and traveled to the Philippines during winter break for a group study abroad program with Calvin’s partner university, Silliman University. It was sponsored by Dr. Dwight TenHuisen.

During the trip, Silliman University selected student “buddies” to serve as hosts and translators for the 22 Calvin students, the documents said.

During the end of the program celebrations, the students went out to celebrate at a bar and dance club in Dumaguete. Court documents said that TenHuisen did not join them but “told the students via text message to go out, have fun, and not do anything stupid.”

While there, she ordered a beer, took a few sips and went to the restroom. When she returned, her buddy said he had refilled her drink. Court documents allege that her buddy laced the refilled drink with an incapacitating drug.

While dancing with her classmates, she became weak and disoriented, so she went to sit on a couch and could hardly keep her eyes open. Her buddy offered to drive her back to her hotel room, so they left. Instead, he took her to an unrecognized hotel room and raped her as she fell in and out of consciousness, according to the lawsuit. He then took her back to her hotel.

The following day, court documents allege that she received a text message from her buddy with a “‘face emoji’ with an index finger over pursed lips, as if (he) was telling her to be quiet.” He also told her that they could pretend nothing happened and that he would get into trouble if she said anything.

She left the program early at her mother’s request but told two classmates and TenHuisen about the assault before leaving.

Once she arrived in California, she had a medical exam and reported the assault to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. She also reported the assault to Calvin, where an incident report was drafted and forwarded to Silliman.

“Calvin represented to students and their parents that the Programs were safe and that sufficient protective measures were being taken,” and that Silliman University would take protective measures to keep Calvin students safe, court documents said.

The documents said that the woman would not have participated in the trip if she had known of Calvin’s failures before departure.

“Dr. TenHuisen, Calvin, and Sillman demonstrated a blatant disregard for (the student’s) safety and wellbeing,” court documents said when no one noticed or protected the student from her buddy.

Even after learning about the assault, court documents allege that TenHuisen didn’t report it to local authorities and took no remedial measures after the student reported it.

On Monday, the lawsuit was filed against Calvin University, Silliman University and Dwight TenHuisen. It seeks compensation, including compensation for injuries, institutional reform, attorney fees and costs, etc.

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