Special Reports

Civil Rights Office To Pay Cornell University A Visit For Most Title IX Investigations


Investigators from the Department of Education's Civil Rights will be paying Cornell University a visit next week. The announcement comes in the midst of the school's sixth open Title IX violation investigation.

USA Today College reported that Cornell University has the most Title IX violation investigations that any other higher education institution in the nation. Cornell's Title IX coordinator Sarah Affel admitted that the U.S. Education Department's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is reviewing the university's compliance with Title IX.

Affel said in an email that representatives from OCR will be going to the school on Feb. 28 and Mar. 1. They will be reviewing the compliance of the school by conducting focus groups and holding private office hours.

Moreover, students are encouraged to provide OCR with direct feedback. Within this week, students on the Ithaca campus will be receiving an email with additional details on the meeting times and locations.

According to a Title IX project consisting of archived public records by The Chronicle of Higher Education, Cornell University has six open Title IX violation investigations. The latest case was opened last Jan. 25, 2017.

The Cornell Daily Sun noted that investigations against the university include claims that the school ignored key evidence and failed to respond promptly and fairly. Cornell was also alleged to have discriminated against a student based on race, color or ethnicity.

Cornell overtook Indiana University of Bloomington which has five open cases. It was clarified that investigations do not automatically meant that a school has violated Title IX. It only meant that the OCR has found the need to gather more evidence and investigate.

A complaint, which was filed on behalf of a Cornell student last Aug. 2016, claimed that the university discriminated against the student. It stated that, during the investigation, the judicial administrator disregarded polygraph results and asked inappropriate questions, among others. Cornell was also said to have failed to review evidence of inconsistencies in a student's account of the incident.

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