Sexual assaults – Feds investigate Emory’s response

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt May 1, 2014
Matheson Reading Room at Emory University. Source: Wikimedia commons

Matheson 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:

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

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.

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

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