Feds Investigate 55 Colleges For Law Violations

The feds investigate over 55 colleges in Ohio and Pennsylvania for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints. Some colleges include Ohio State University, Wittenberg University, and Denison University in Ohio and Carnegie Mellon University, Franklin and Marshall College, Pennsylvania State University, Swarthmore College and Temple University in Pennsylvania.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. In the past, Department officials confirmed individual Title IX investigations at institutions, but Thursday’s list is the first comprehensive look at which campuses are under review by OCR for possible violations of the law’s requirements around sexual violence.

“We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said. “We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue. I also want to make it clear that a college or university’s appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law.”

The goal of the investigation is to ensure that the campus is in compliance with federal law, which demands that students are not denied the ability to participate fully in educational and other opportunities due to sex, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Education.

Details of each case being investigated will not be released until the investigation in complete.

Releasing this list advances a key goal of President Obama’s White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to bring more transparency to the federal government’s enforcement activities around this issue, the release stated.

White House launches sexual assault campaign.

Under federal law, sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent — including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse and sexual coercion.

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