IU-Bloomington: No complaints to trigger university being placed on OCR list
By The Associated Press
The Education Department has taken the unprecedented step of releasing the names of the 55 colleges and universities currently facing a Title IX sexual assault investigation.
Indiana University-Bloomington and Vincennes University are among the institutions listed. The Department says it will not disclose any case-specific facts or details about the institutions under investigation, aside from when the investigation began.
Indiana University released this statement:
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in March initiated a routine compliance review of Indiana University Bloomington’s handling of reports of sexual harassment, including sexual assault.
This type of compliance review is distinct and separate from investigations that arise from complaints to OCR, and the office has confirmed that it has received no complaints against IU Bloomington that would have triggered an investigation.
As OCR explained to campus officials, it is in the process of conducting compliance reviews on numerous campuses throughout the country, and individual institutions have been chosen randomly based on size, geographic location, type of campus community (commuter vs. residential) and other factors.
The stated goal of the review is to help institutions determine areas for improvement under Title IX, and the university welcomes the opportunity to share its practices in this area and receive input that will help the Bloomington campus strengthen its work in this vitally important area.
Vincennes University released this statement:
Vincennes University was selected as one of more than 50 institutions to be included in an initial Title IX review by the U.S.
Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR). As stated by Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon in the release, "…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."
VU is actively working with the OCR to complete the review process.
"VU is always interested in learning how to improve the campus environment and safety measures for our students, including best practices to combat sexual assault and harassment," said Lynn White, assistant provost of Student Affairs.
"Vincennes University supports the government's increased emphasis on sexual assault prevention on college campuses and takes an active role in providing informational programming, support services, and processes that effectively address needs and issues," White said.
The release comes two days after a White House task force promised greater government transparency on sexual assault in higher education.
The agency previously would confirm such an investigation when asked, but students and others were often unaware of them.
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 school failed to protect them.