Nov 15, 2013 04:41 PM EST
Amherst College and Vanderbilt University Faced With Federal Complaints of Title IX and Clery Act VIolations
Amherst College and Vanderbilt University can count themselves among other higher education institutions pending or under federal investigation for complaints of mishandled sexual assault claims.
According to the Huffington Post, two former Amherst students and six current former Vanderbilt students filed complaints Thursday with the U.S. Education Department's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) against their respective schools.
The complaints allege the school violated the federal gender equality law Title IX by not properly following through on their complaints of sexual misconduct committed against them.
One of the Amherst complainants said following her rape complaint, the school admitted her to a hospital psych ward and let the accused go unpunished. One of the Vanderbilt complainants alleged the school pressured her into letting the school handle it, then did not do anything against the alleged stalker.
Amherst president Biddy Martin told the Huffington Post her school has made significant changes in the way they handle claims of sexual misconduct. The school is also adding a Title IX coordinator in December.
"Last year, a group of articulate and courageous students disclosed a range of problems in our previous efforts to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual misconduct and assault," Martin said. "Led by the staff, faculty, and students on the Title IX team, the college has made much-needed changes. We are responding to reports of sexual misconduct and assault by taking appropriate steps to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence and address its effects."
Both schools could not comment on the complaints themselves because administrators said they had yet to see them. Both complaints also alleged Amherst and Vanderbilt violated the federal campus safety law, the Clery Act.
The Clery Act requires schools to accurately release all crimes committed on campus in an annual report. The objective of the report is to show what kind of crimes occur on campus and how often they happen.
Several schools have been under investigation by the OCR in the past and currently, including USC, UNC-Chapel Hill, Yale, Colorado-Boulder and others. UConn is also facing a pending investigation and lawsuit for the way the administration allegedly handled claims of sexual misconduct.
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