The Feds Are Investigating 106 Colleges for Mishandling Sexual Assault. Is Yours One of Them?

The list of schools has nearly doubled since last May.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tabor-roeder/5551225213/in/photolist-jGeUXB-76LpLG-jGeetP-49Fv1o-i294py-9sAuHj-9sxtRx-9sArss-9sxhX8-jGgZyu-9sAoyW-jGeYsH-6gPUmv-6gU6pA-p7gc1-6uw5om-49Fuyd-6urUHX-3A8csp-6otu8-4zjqpz-jGePa4-8BbdiF-9tqn3L-6gTYjq-6gPMji-nvaKZ7-p3SSku-D38G7-6gU4tw-p7gc6-9sAiBY-6in1y7-bWMsY-6gPPTF-6gU2LU-6gPNrZ-6gU42Y-6gPTV6-6gPQnt-8BbdiR-6kvCut-ndDpU9-49BpFT-6gU12U-q2Yjrk-i28N1f-6kvRji-6kvVpH-6kvyEr">Phil Roeder</a>/Flickr

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Last May, the Department of Education released a list of 55 colleges and universities under investigation for possible Title IX violations for mishandling sexual-assault cases. As of April 1, the number has grown to 106 institutions, according to new data requested by Mother Jones.

The DOE provided the updated list Monday, a day after the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism published its report on the widely discredited Rolling Stone article about sexual assault at the University of Virginia. The controversy around the piece has served as a reminder of the ongoing national debate about how colleges and universities should handle sexual-assault allegations. Recent research shows that 1 in 5 women in undergraduate programs experience sexual assault, even though just 1 percent of assailants are punished.

UVA has been on the federal radar since June 2011, joining five other Virginia area schools under investigation. Meanwhile, several schools have agreed to make changes in how they handle sexual-misconduct complaints following the federal probes:

  • In 2011, before the DOE made its list of institutions public, the Office for Civil Rights looked into complaints of a sexually hostile environment at Yale, in part due to an October 2010 incident in which fraternity pledges chanted “sexually aggressive comments” outside the campus’ Women’s Center. Yale agreed to alter its policies in June 2012.
  • Both the Department of Justice and the DOE investigated procedures at the University of Montana-Missoula, once described as the nation’s “rape capital.” (Between January 2008 and May 2012, Missoula police received more than 350 sexual-assault reports.) The university agreed to make changes in May 2013.
  • Last May, the DOE’s Office for Civil Rights found that at the Virginia Military Institute, “female cadets were exposed to a sexually hostile environment” and that the institute violated Title IX for requiring pregnant and parenting cadets to leave the school.
  • The DOE’s Office for Civil Rights found that Harvard Law School failed to “appropriately respond” to two sexual-assault complaints, including one  complaint that was dismissed more than a year after the university took up the case. The law school agreed to make changes in December 2014 as part of a university-wide overhaul of its policy for handling sexual-assault and harassment cases. A group of Harvard law professors objected to the tougher policy in a Boston Globe op-ed, noting that the procedures for deciding cases were “overwhelmingly stacked against the accused.” 

Here’s the most recent list of schools under federal investigation:

 

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

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