Education Department Issue List Of Colleges Facing Title IX Investigation


By Paul Johnson

WASHINGTON (KBOI-TV) - The Education Department on Thursday took the unprecedented step of releasing the names of the 55 colleges and universities currently facing a Title IX investigation over their handling of sexual abuse complaints.

In a story posted by KBOI-TV the release came two days after a White House task force promised greater government transparency on sexual assault in higher education. Going forward, the department said, it will keep an updated list of schools facing such an investigation and make it available upon request.

According to the Associated Press, the schools range from big public universities like Ohio State University, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Arizona State University to private schools like Knox College in Illinois, Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania and Catholic University of America in the District of Columbia. Ivy League schools like Harvard, Princeton and Dartmouth are also on the list.

The Associated Press went on to say that in the Northwest, Washington State University and the University of Idaho made the list.

Title IX prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funds. It is the same law that guarantees girls equal access to sports, but it also regulates institutions' handling of sexual violence and increasingly is being used by victims who say their schools failed to protect them.

The University of Idaho responded today to being including on a list of higher education institutions that are under review by the U.S. Department of Education for potential Title IX violations over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.

“Student health, welfare and safety is our number one priority,” said Bruce Pitman, Dean of Students at the University of Idaho. “The UI takes all complaints of assault very seriously and remains intolerant of sexual harassment, sexual assault or and other sexual misconduct. The UI is steadfast in its commitment to investigate all complaints as quickly as possible and to ensure that appropriate steps are taken to stop discriminatory behavior, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects. The UI’s victim care and concern infrastructure is robust, providing initiatives to educate as well as extensive services when sexual harassment and sexual assault occurs.”

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) notified the University in April 2013 of a complaint filed in March 2013 alleging that the UI failed to adequately respond to a Complainant’s complaint of sexual harassment and failed to provide the Complainant with a prompt and effective grievance procedure. Since then, the UI has continued to cooperate fully with OCR, which has included providing requested information and facilitating OCR’s Moscow campus visit.

A Record of Accomplishment
The University believes that it fully complies with Title IX. Nonetheless, the University is always working to improve its policies and procedures and will continue to cooperate with OCR to make any suggested changes to ensure that our approach remains consistent with OCR recommendations and best practices.
Below are some of the improvements the University has made in the last few years to ensure our campus is safe and our students have the support they need:

• In 2012, the Dean of Students Office was reorganized to better address issues of sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence. The Associate Dean position was refocused to better oversee the student conduct process, investigate allegations of sexual misconduct involving students and to work with educational programs. A full-time Coordinator for Violence Prevention was hired to implement programs focused on interpersonal violence and sexual assault. A full-time Coordinator for Student Conduct and Community Standards was hired to investigate alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct, present such alleged violations before a hearing panel and to serve on teams that investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.

• A Speaker’s Bureau focusing on sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence gives presentations in classrooms and living groups. Speaker’s Bureau members, who are survivors of violence and sexual assault, tell stories about how their experiences have impacted their lives.

• The University of Idaho sent seven staff and community members to a Green Dot facilitator training in April 2013. The Green Dot program was launched in January 2014 and many UI student leaders have attended seven hours of training to learn the Green Dot philosophy as well as bystander intervention skills.

• Beginning in Fall 2013, all new UI students under the age of 24 are required to complete a three hour on-line training experience called “Think About It.” This is an interactive program that provides education in alcohol and other substance use, sexual misconduct, bystander intervention and healthy relationships.

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