Sexual assaults – Feds investigate Emory’s responseMatheson Reading Room at Emory University. Source: Wikimedia commons
The U.S. Department of Education has named Emory University as one of 55 schools in the country under investigation for its handling of sexual assault cases.
In a press release published on May 1, Emory’s name appeared as one of the colleges that the Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights is investigating under Title IX.
“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,” the release says. “In the past, Department officials confirmed individual Title IX investigations at institutions, but today’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.”
Beverly Cox Clark, spokeswoman for Emory, told Decaturish that, “In our case, this is an (Office of Civil Rights) compliance review of our policies and procedures and not an investigation in response to a specific case or complaint.”
“Emory University has been cooperating fully with the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR), in a compliance review of the university’s Title IX policies and processes,” a press release from Emory says. “This compliance review, which has been pending since December 2013, was not initiated in response to any complaint, but rather, is part of the agency’s Title IX compliance and enforcement function.”
Emory’s full press release appears at the end of this article.
The Department of Education press release does not specify the reasons Emory is being investigated.
“The Department will not disclose any case-specific facts or details about the institutions under investigation,” the press release says. “The list includes investigations opened because of complaints received by OCR and those initiated by OCR as compliance reviews. When an investigation concludes, the Department will disclose, upon request, whether OCR has entered into a resolution agreement to address compliance concerns at a particular campus or found insufficient evidence of a Title IX violation there.”
The DOE says it is taking this step to raise awareness about the issue of sexual assaults on college campuses.
“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 in the press release. “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.”
This isn’t the first time this year Emory has been in the news related to sexual assaults on its campuses.
The website Rehabs.com released a report earlier this year showing that in 2012 Emory was No. 3 nationally in reported forcible sex offenses, behind Princeton and Brown universities.
Here is the complete list of schools identified by the Department of Education:
|AZ||Arizona State University|
|CA||Butte-Glen Community College District|
|CA||University of California-Berkeley|
|CA||University of Southern California|
|CO||University of Colorado at Boulder|
|CO||University of Colorado at Denver|
|CO||University of Denver|
|CT||University of Connecticut|
|DC||Catholic University of America|
|FL||Florida State University|
|HI||University of Hawaii at Manoa|
|ID||University of Idaho|
|IL||University of Chicago|
|MA||Harvard University—Law School|
|MA||University of Massachusetts-Amherst|
|MD||Frostburg State University|
|MI||Michigan State University|
|MI||University of Michigan-Ann Arbor|
|NC||University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill|
|ND||Minot State University|
|NY||Cuny Hunter College|
|NY||Hobart and William Smith Colleges|
|NY||Sarah Lawrence College|
|NY||Suny at Binghamton|
|OH||Ohio State University|
|OK||Oklahoma State University|
|PA||Carnegie Mellon University|
|PA||Franklin and Marshall College|
|PA||Pennsylvania State University|
|TX||Southern Methodist University|
|TX||The University of Texas-Pan American|
|VA||College of William and Mary|
|VA||University of Virginia|
|WA||Washington State University|
|WI||University of Wisconsin-Whitewater|
|WV||West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine|
Here is the full press release from Emory University in response to the Department of Education’s investigation:
Emory University has been cooperating fully with the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR), in a compliance review of the university’s Title IX policies and processes. This compliance review, which has been pending since December 2013, was not initiated in response to any complaint, but rather, is part of the agency’s Title IX compliance and enforcement function. OCR currently is conducting over 50 compliance reviews of other universities nationwide.
The review involves an examination of the university’s processes and procedures as it relates to the handling of complaints of sexual harassment, including sexual violence and assault, to determine if the university responds immediately and appropriately. It also involves a review of other university efforts, including sexual assault prevention, outreach, support, and education programs, that are in place to address and reduce the incidents of sexual assault.
Emory works proactively to build a safe community, and takes all complaints and accusations of sexual misconduct seriously. The university devotes multiple resources to students, faculty and staff for outreach, support, reporting and advocacy.