Education Department Now Investigating 67 Colleges and Universities for Handling of Sexual Assault Complaints


The U.S. Education Department (ED) has added 12 colleges and universities to the list of schools being investigated for alleged Clery Act and Title IX violations.

According to the Associated Press, this makes 67 schools in 32 different states under federal investigation from the ED's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for complaints of mishandling a reported sexual assault on campus. The ED first made public its list of schools under investigation in May and they have stated they would provide weekly updates.

Now under an OCR investigation are Morgan State University, University of Delaware, University of Richmond, Elmira College, University of Alaska System of Higher Education, Colorado State University, Washburn University, Berklee College of Music, Missouri University of Science and Technology, The University of Akron, Cisco Junior College and James Madison University.

Representatives at Morgan State, Delaware, Richmond and Elmira confirmed the investigations at their institutions and said they would be complying fully with the OCR. Clinton Coleman, a spokesman for Morgan State, said the sexual assault in question at the school occurred in Feb., but the victim had reported it until March when the Baltimore Police Dept. transferred over the case. The student filed the complaint against the school June 26.

Title IX is a federal gender equity law protecting against sexual discrimination. Since sexual assault is a crime of gender discrimination, schools are required to properly investigate and adjudicate such complaints. The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to be transparent with campus crime. Violations of these laws can result in fines and loss of federal aid.

Not all investigations stem from Title IX or Clery Act complaints made directly to the ED, as some of the probes are being conducted following compliance reviews. Though its list of schools under investigation is public, the ED does not disclose what led to the probe.

Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a bill President Lyndon B. Johnson managed to pass despite great opposition.

"Education is the civil rights issue of our time. Our Office for Civil Rights will continue to vigorously enforce the landmark legislation that banned discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement Wednesday. "We must recommit, as a nation, to programs and policies that close opportunity gaps and help all students reach their potential. Only then will we be able to accelerate our nation's economic progress, increase upward mobility, and reduce social inequality for all Americans."

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