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Nov 26, 2014 10:12 AM EST

University of Virginia Facing Intense Scrutiny for Being Considered a Sexual Assault Policy Authority


The University of Virginia (UVa) is under heavy scrutiny for its handling of sexual assault on campus, particularly because it is a school that advises others on the matter.

According to the Huffington Post, UVa Dean of Students Allen Groves helped the state and the University of Oregon redesign their sexual assault policies. UVa is also one of 88 active federal Title IX reviews from the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

UVa's sexual assault policies and practices were thrust into the national spotlight after Rolling Stone's publication of an article detailing multiple gang rapes at a campus fraternity house. The article opens by describing one victim's account in detail, making the rape appear to be some sort of initiation for the fraternity.

Last weekend, UVa's Board of Visitors, the school's governing body, held an emergency meeting to address their approach to sexual assault. After the meeting, board member Edward Miller addressed the concerns many now have about UVa being an authority on sexual assault practices.

"We were arrogant, we assumed we knew better," he told the HP.

Groves was appointed the chief of a national committee designed to curb sexual assault among fraternities in Aug., shortly before he publicly addressed the federal review at UVa. In a previous Board meeting, Groves said the school was under investigation for both "standard compliance" and as the result of a complaint.

He told the HP he did not appreciate an article that made it seem as though he was downplaying the significance of the review. He said he explained it as he understood it.

"I went back and looked at the original 2011 letter from OCR, which says it was a 'proactive' review," Groves told HP this week. "I had mistakenly remembered it as 'standard.' I don't recall the letter saying that the review was highly unusual, and I was honestly saying what I knew at the time I spoke. I am not an expert in OCR investigations and I am not the University's point person on this review."

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