Elizabeth Stroble | St. Louis Public Radio

Elizabeth Stroble

Webster University, shown in this July 1, 2019 photograph of its Webster Groves campus, is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

A federal civil rights office has opened an investigation into whether Webster University mishandled complaints of sexual harassment.

Tamsen Reed in front of the Webster University communications department building. May 17, 2019.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10:45 a.m., May 21, to reflect new witness statements — The first time Tamsen Reed heard the rumors was over a text message from a soon-to-be roommate. Almost immediately, she began to feel trapped.

The rumors kept piling on. She’d hear them in her university classrooms. Once, a stranger shared them with one of Reed’s housemates, not realizing they lived together. Another time, a date brought them up to Reed.