“55 Colleges Face Sexual Assault Investigations” by Tyler Kingkade

It has been estimated that one in five women are sexually assaulted on US college campuses, although many attacks may be underreported. With this information in mind, it is not surprising that the Department of Education released a list detailing 55 institutions that are under investigation for potentially violating the Title IX gender equality law. Tyler Kingkade notes that Title IX sexual assault cases have risen since 2012. This is an excerpt from a recent article published by The Huffington Post. The source of this excerpt is http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/01/college-sexual-assault_n_5247267.html?1398964124

Facing mounting pressure from lawmakers, sexual assault survivors and activists, the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday released for the first time a comprehensive list of colleges and universities under Title IX investigation.

Image courtesy of The Huffington Post

Image courtesy of The Huffington Post

Fifty-five higher education institutions are currently under review by the department’s Office for Civil Rights for allegedly mishandling sexual assault and harassment on campus in violation of the gender equity law Title IX.

“We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said in a statement. “We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue. I also want to make it clear that a college or university’s appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law.”

Women who have filed complaints leading to such investigations have long criticized the Education Department for shielding schools under investigation and for not providing enough transparency on the reviews. Prior to the list’s release, the department only confirmed when a school was under review upon request, which usually resulted from disclosure by a complainant or the school. The department has typically released information about an investigation after a resolution has been reached.

[…]

Survivors applauded the move but want to ensure the department is still taking steps to protect the anonymity of survivors so they don’t face retaliation on campus by peers or administrators.

“It’s a great first step towards transparency, but we hope that there will be an increased effort on behalf of the OCR to also support those that are filing complaints,” Andrea Pino, a complainant against UNC-Chapel Hill and co-founder of End Rape on Campus, told HuffPost. “Announcing an investigation can open survivors to retaliation, and it’s important that the OCR also take emphasis on providing survivors an option to opt out of having their investigation announced if it could endanger them, especially in small institutions where anonymity is less of an option.”

[…]

If a college is found to be in violation of Title IX after a federal investigation, it often leads to some form of a resolution with the Education Department, which can entail rewriting policies, requiring staffing changes or other mandates. In some cases, the Education Department can refer the matter to another agency, such as the Department of Justice, or move to cut off a school from all federal funding. No higher education institution has ever lost federal funding due to Title IX violations.

To view the list of institutions, please see The Huffington Post’s website.

This is a significantly shortened excerpt. To read the full article, please visit The Huffington Post website. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/01/college-sexual-assault_n_5247267.html?1398964124

Tyler Kingkade is an Associate Editor at The Huffington Post, based in New York. Prior to this role he covered politics for The Huffington Post and The Iowa Independent, and worked at the National Journal and for the CBS affiliate in Des Moines, Iowa. He was editor-in-chief of Ethos magazine at Iowa State University and also attended The Fund for American Studies at Georgetown University. His work has earned him national recognition by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Collegiate Press, and the University of Georgia.