TEMPE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The federal government is investigating ASU after a grad student claims the university did not protect her after she filed a sexual harassment complaint against a professor.
The student specifically said the school let other students continue to retaliate against her.
"If ASU was hiding evidence, and they find that, Arizona State University can be in big trouble," said attorney Benjamin Taylor.
Taylor is not involved in this specific case but has dealt with other Title IX cases with ASU in the past.
He said it's not often a Title IX sexual harassment complaint goes federal. Normally, it's just an internal investigation, but he said it's not unheard of.
"Just because there's an investigation doesn't mean Arizona State University did anything wrong here," Taylor said.
According to a letter to the student's attorney from the United States Department of Education, the graduate student filed a sexual harassment complaint against her professor Panagiotis Polygerinos.
She claimed after that, the university "fostered a sexually hostile environment" by failing to address retaliation against her by two of her fellow Ph.D. classmates, which the university has a legal obligation to do.
"You can lose some of your Title IX funding. You can lose money from the federal government because you're not protecting students on campus," said Taylor. "It's a huge consequence."
In a letter from ASU to the student, they said Mr. Polygerinos is no longer employed at the university and has moved out of the country.
"That complicates things as far as him being a witness," said Taylor.
Taylor said the federal investigation could take up to a year to complete, given the serious nature of the allegations against the school.
ASU said they decline to comment on the ongoing process.