Thomas Klocke, a University of Texas student, killed himself after being accused of saying a gay slur against a classmate.
In May 2016, Klocke was banned from his courses, after a classmate hit him with ‘bare, unsupported’ harassment allegations, according to the federal civil suit filed in April this year.
Fast forward one month later, Klocke committed suicide at Grapevine’s Silver Lake Marina Park, which is 30 miles from the UT Arlington campus.
However, Klocke’s father is not letting this tragic accident be left unjustified. Mr. Wayne Klocke is now suing the school, claiming that Klocke was subjected to harsh and unjust punishment, over claims that were never substantiated.
The controversy occurred on May 19, 2016. A fellow management class student, Thomas Watson, who is gay, claimed that Klocke called him a fa***t and wrote that ‘Gays should die.’
Watson went to Heather Snow, the school’s dean of students and vice president of student affairs, in an email that Klocke typed ‘Gays should die’ on his laptop for him to see. In addition, when Watson told Klocke that he was gay, Klocke feigned a yawn and said “you’re a fa***t.”
Watson felt incredibly unwelcome and vulnerable, more so uncomfortable, after which Thomas supposedly told him ‘you should consider killing yourself’,’ according to the suit.
After the encounter, Watson contacted Heather Snow, who advised him to draft a complaint and send it directly to her. But Klocke had denied the claims, and accused Watson of flirting with him. He told school officials at the time that Watson had sat down next to him in class and told Klocke he was ‘beautiful.’
Klocke consistently typed on his laptop showing the gay student what he wrote: “stop-I’m straight.”Klocke said he again typed ‘stop’ as the classmate continued to glance at him, and then eventually moved to another seat in the room.
Snow and Dan Moore, UTA’s associate director for academic integrity, had interview both Klocke and Watson, as well as a student who sat nearby during the confrontation. The other student happened to hear Watson tell Klocke to leave.
Klocke then received a dismaying letter from the university entailing that he had violated its policy against harassment. For the rest of his time at UT, he will be on probation.
Moore said in court filings that Klocke was entitled to appeal the decision but he had killed himself before the deadline.
However, Klocke’s family insist in the lawsuit he did not get a fair review and that Snow and Moore denied Klocke a Title IX hearing to investigate the claims.
In fact, the school’s administrators ‘have a vested interest in enacting swift and harsh punishment (almost always upon males) who are merely accused of sexual harassment, sexual violence or aggressive behavior, in order to preserve the appearance of their leadership on the issue,’ the suit says.
On June 2016, Klocke committed suicide. He needed that specific course to graduate and attend graduate school the following year.
Wayne Klocke filed a suit against the administrators, whose treatment as well as the harassment claims caused his son’s sense of embarrassment, rage, frenzy, and emotional instability. Mr. Klocke filed it on April 4.