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55 schools face US federal sex assault probe

WASHINGTON – 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.

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.

The schools range from big public universities like the Ohio State University, Indiana University in Bloomington 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 agency previously would confirm such an investigation when asked, but students and others were often unaware of them.

“We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue,” Catherine E. Lhamon, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in a statement.

Lhamon said a school’s appearance on the list does not mean that it has violated the law but that an investigation is ongoing.

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.

Ada Meloy, general counsel for the American Council on Education, a higher education group, said most of the schools were probably aware there was such an investigation.

“I think that every college and university in the current environment is concerned about the need to be very attentive to what they are doing with regard to policies and procedures” related to sexual assault on campuses, Meloy said.

Citing research, the White House has said that 1 in 5 female students is assaulted. President Barack Obama appointed a task force comprised of his Cabinet members to review the issue after hearing complaints about the poor treatment of campus rape victims and the hidden nature of such crimes.

The task force announced the creation of a website, notalone.gov, offering resources for victims and information about past enforcement actions on campuses. The task force also made a wide range of recommendations to schools, such as identifying confidential victims’ advocates and conducting surveys to better gauge the frequency of sexual assault on their campuses.

The department publicized guidance on Title IX’s sexual assault provisions in 2011, and complaints by students have since increased. Complaints, however, don’t always lead to an investigation.

The department can withhold federal funding from a school that doesn’t comply with the law, but it so far has not used that power and instead has negotiated voluntary resolutions for violators.

Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., have said non-compliance under the law is “far too common.” They say a lack of federal resources is partly to blame for that, and they’ve sought more money to ensure timely and proper investigations.

Another law that campus sexual assault cases fall under is the Clery Act, which requires colleges and universities to report crime statistics on or near their campuses. It also requires schools to develop prevention policies and ensure victims their basic rights. Investigations under this law are not included in the list that was released.

At a glance: A list of schools under investigation

State

Institution

AZ

ARIZONA

STATE

UNIVERSITY

CA

BUTTE-GLEN

COMMUNITY

COLLEGE

DISTRICT

CA

OCCIDENTAL

COLLEGE

CA

UNIVERSITY

OF

CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY

CA

UNIVERSITY

OF

SOUTHERN

CALIFORNIA

CO

REGIS

UNIVERSITY

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

GA

EMORY

UNIVERSITY

HI

UNIVERSITY

OF

HAWAII

AT

MANOA

ID

UNIVERSITY

OF

IDAHO

IL

KNOX

COLLEGE

IL

UNIVERSITY

OF

CHICAGO

IN

INDIANA

UNIVERSITY-BLOOMINGTON

IN

VINCENNES

UNIVERSITY

MA

AMHERST

COLLEGE

MA

BOSTON

UNIVERSITY

MA

EMERSON

COLLEGE

MA

HARVARD

COLLEGE

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

GUILFORD

COLLEGE

NC

UNIVERSITY

OF

NORTH

CAROLINA

AT

CHAPEL

HILL

ND

MINOT

STATE

UNIVERSITY

NH

DARTMOUTH

COLLEGE

NJ

PRINCETON

UNIVERSITY

NY

CUNY

HUNTER

COLLEGE

NY

HOBART

AND

WILLIAM

SMITH

COLLEGES

NY

SARAH

LAWRENCE

COLLEGE

NY

SUNY

AT

BINGHAMTON

OH

DENISON

UNIVERSITY

OH

OHIO

STATE

UNIVERSITY

OH

WITTENBERG

UNIVERSITY

OK

OKLAHOMA

STATE

UNIVERSITY

PA

CARNEGIE

MELLON

UNIVERSITY

PA

FRANKLIN

AND

MARSHALL

COLLEGE

PA

PENNSYLVANIA

STATE

UNIVERSITY

PA

SWARTHMORE

COLLEGE

PA

TEMPLE

UNIVERSITY

TN

VANDERBILT

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

BETHANY

COLLEGE

WV

WEST

VIRGINIA

SCHOOL

OF

OSTEOPATHIC

MEDICINE

Source: U.S. Department of Education

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