Special Reports

Hunter College Reaches Agreement With Education Department For Title IX Violations


Hunter College has reached an agreement with the Department of Education regarding its Title IX violations on sexual harassment and sexual violence. This comes after the City University of New York (CUNY) and Hunter College were accused of failing to promptly respond to complaints.

In an official statement, the Department of Education clarified that Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. It was noted that Hunter College is the largest college inside CUNY.

"By entering into this agreement, CUNY and Hunter College demonstrate a strong commitment to address and prevent sexual harassment and violence among students, staff and the CUNY community at large," Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, said. "We look forward to working with CUNY and Hunter College to implement this agreement, including through ensuring a university-wide culture of prevention, support and safety."

An investigation was set up by the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) after a student complained of sexual harassment by a professor. The student also claimed that the school retaliated against her.

The OCR investigated whether Hunter College did fail to respond promptly and equitably to complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence. Moreover, it was also assessed whether the alleged negligence resulted to subjecting students to a sexually hostile environment.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the settlement requires Hunter College to provide training to staff and students in order to address sexual misconduct. The school would also need to re-examine all complaints of sexual harassment and assault that have been filed in the past three years.

"The procedures don't effectively advise individuals where to file complaints, do not ensure an equitable opportunity to present witnesses and evidence and do not provide sufficient information and time frames," Timothy C.J. Blanchard, director of the department's New York Office for Civil Rights, said. It was in a letter addressed to Hunter College president Jennifer Raab.

It was noted that the OCR also found flaws on how the college handled 12 other cases of sexual misconduct complaints between the years of 2011 and 2013. The school will now need to review complaints between 2013 and 2016.

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