IU one of 55 colleges facing sex assault investigations

Kirsten Gillibrand
FILE - This March 6, 2014 file photo shows Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Education Department on Thursday took the unprecedented step of releasing the names of the 55 colleges and universities currently facing a Title IX investigation over their handling of sexual abuse complaints. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Department of Education is investigating Indiana University-Bloomington and Vincennes University over their handling of sexual abuse complaints.

The federal agency said Thursday the schools are among 55 nationwide being investigated over their handling of sexual abuse complaints under a federal law mandating equal opportunities for men and women.

That law also regulates schools’ handling of sexual violence and is increasingly being used by victims who say their schools didn’t protect them.

IU spokesman Mark Land says the federal agency has confirmed that it didn’t receive any complaints against IU-Bloomington “that would have triggered an investigation.”

He says IU and the other schools were chosen randomly for “a routine compliance review” of their handling of sexual abuse and harassment complaints.

Vincennes University did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The release of the names of the universities and colleges involved in the Education Department investigation came two days after a White House task force promised greater government transparency on sexual assault in higher education. Going forward, the department said, it will keep an updated list of schools facing such an investigation and make it available upon request.

The schools range from big public universities like Ohio State University, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Arizona State University to private schools like Knox College in Illinois, Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and Catholic University of America in the District of Columbia. Ivy League schools like Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth are also on the list.

The agency previously would confirm such an investigation when asked, but students and others were often unaware of them.

“We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue,” Catherine E. Lhamon, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in a statement.

Lhamon said a school’s appearance on the list does not mean that it has violated the law but that an investigation is ongoing.

Title IX prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funds. It is the same law that guarantees girls equal access to sports, but it also regulates institutions’ handling of sexual violence and increasingly is being used by victims who say their schools failed to protect them.

Citing research, the White House has said that 1 in 5 female students is assaulted. President Barack Obama appointed a task force comprised of his Cabinet members to review the issue after hearing complaints about the poor treatment of campus rape victims and the hidden nature of such crimes.

The task force announced the creation of a website, notalone.gov, offering resources for victims and information about past enforcement actions on campuses. The task force also made a wide range of recommendations to schools, such as identifying confidential victims’ advocates and conducting surveys to better gauge the frequency of sexual assault on their campuses.

The department publicized guidance on Title IX’s sexual assault provisions in 2011, and complaints by students have since increased. Complaints, however, don’t always lead to an investigation.

The department can withhold federal funding from a school that doesn’t comply with the law, but it so far has not used that power and instead has negotiated voluntary resolutions for violators.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., have said non-compliance under the law is “far too common.” They say a lack of federal resources is partly to blame for that, and they’ve sought more money to ensure timely and proper investigations.

Another law that campus sexual assault cases fall under is the Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to report crime statistics on or near their campuses. It also requires schools to develop prevention policies and ensure victims their basic rights. Investigations under this law are not included in the list that was released.

 

The list of the 55 colleges and universities currently facing a sexual abuse investigation under the Title IX law, according to the Education Department:

State Institution
AZ ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
CA BUTTE-GLEN COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
CA OCCIDENTAL COLLEGE
CA UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY
CA UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
CO REGIS UNIVERSITY
CO UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER
CO UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT DENVER
CO UNIVERSITY OF DENVER
CT UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
DC CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA
FL FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
GA EMORY UNIVERSITY
HI UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA
ID UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO
IL KNOX COLLEGE
IL UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
IN INDIANA UNIVERSITY-BLOOMINGTON
IN VINCENNES UNIVERSITY
MA AMHERST COLLEGE
MA BOSTON UNIVERSITY
MA EMERSON COLLEGE
MA HARVARD COLLEGE
MA HARVARD UNIVERSITY – LAW SCHOOL
MA UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-AMHERST
MD FROSTBURG STATE UNIVERSITY
MI MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
MI UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-ANN ARBOR
NC GUILFORD COLLEGE
NC UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
ND MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY
NH DARTMOUTH COLLEGE
NJ PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
NY CUNY HUNTER COLLEGE
NY HOBART AND WILLIAM SMITH COLLEGES
NY SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE
NY SUNY AT BINGHAMTON
OH DENISON UNIVERSITY
OH OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
OH WITTENBERG UNIVERSITY
OK OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY
PA CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY
PA FRANKLIN AND MARSHALL COLLEGE
PA PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
PA SWARTHMORE COLLEGE
PA TEMPLE UNIVERSITY
TN VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY
TX SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY
TX THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS-PAN AMERICAN
VA COLLEGE OF WILLIAM AND MARY
VA UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
WA WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY
WI UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-WHITEWATER
WV BETHANY COLLEGE
WV WEST VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE

Source: U.S. Department of Education

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