Sarasota, Fla. (June 21, 2022) – Eight alumni from Ringling College of Art and Design, Inc. (“Ringling College”) have filed suit against the college alleging multiple causes of action including constructive fraud, negligent supervision and retention, breach of implied contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.
The plaintiffs allege that Ringling College breached its duty to provide a safe campus environment by failing to protect its student population from the mishandling of student-on-student reports of sexual assault, sexual harassment, threats of violence, and stalking. The Plaintiffs also allege that the college breached its duty to protect students and student employees from discrimination saying they were discriminated against by the now former Associate Dean of Students in Resident Life, Christopher Shaffer. The students allege discrimination based upon gender, race, disabilities, and LGBTQ+ status. Three of the plaintiffs, Lyra Wilson, Roxee Zinsser, and Dylan Bonner, claim that after being sexually assaulted on Ringling’s campus, college administration mishandled the reports of student-on-student sexual assault and attempted to cover up the complaints. The plaintiffs allege that Ringling College has engaged in a pattern and practice of silencing students and covering up reports of student-on-student misconduct and violations of Florida and federal anti-discrimination laws since 2008.
Megan Ruiz, who was sued for defamation by Christopher Shaffer in August of 2020 after she publicly voiced her concerns about the alleged cover-up of student misconduct and discrimination at Ringling College, is also a plaintiff in this lawsuit. Ruiz is still being sued by Shaffer after posting a tweet describing some of her negative experiences with Shaffer nearly two years ago, on June 22, 2020. She has since filed a counterclaim against Shaffer, who has also brought a lawsuit against Ringling College.
Asked about her reaction to the filing of this lawsuit, Megan Ruiz stated, “For much of the past two years, I didn’t have the mental health needed to pursue this lawsuit. Now that others have come forward, I am reminded that my only goal since all of this started was to advocate for the well-being of the Ringling community. The college was negligent, and I’m moving forward for the sake of the mental health and safety of others, as scary as this is.”
The Plaintiffs, Megan Rose Ruiz, Lyra Wilson, Lauren Wilson, Caitlin Henning, Roxee Zinsser, Dylan Bonner, Nicholas Berger, and Bryan Paul Patterson are represented by Starlett M. Massey of Massey Law Group, P.A.
Massey Law Group, P.A. is located at 3833 Central Avenue in Saint Petersburg, Florida. To learn more about Massey Law Group, visit our website at www.masseylawgrouppa.com