Ga. college named in federal sexual assault probe

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comMay 1, 2014 

Emory University is being investigated by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights for its handling of sexual violence on campus, the federal government announced Thursday.

Emory is one of 55 colleges who are being investigated under Title IX, the federal law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender at schools receiving federal funding. This requirement is broadly applied across all parts of a college's administration — Title IX is also notable for dramatically increasing the number of female athletes.

As many colleges face increasing scrutiny over their handling of sexual assault allegations against and among their student body (most often that female students are mistreated or ignored by the system) the U.S. government has used Title IX to enforce its interests in ensuring equal legal treatment and protections.

In 2011, the OCR released a "dear colleague" letter that outlined mandated policy requirements when handling cases of sexual violence under Title IX. In all cases, it required accessibility and transparency to alleged victims. (Florida State University is also being investigated; its star quarterback, Jameis Winston, was accused of rape in 2013, though the state's attorney later declined prosecution due to a lack of evidence.)

The list does not include details of the OCR's specific investigation at each school. The list does include both Ivys (Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton) and massive public institutions (Michigan State, Ohio State). The list's release is being called "a first," as American Counsel on Education lawyer Ada Meloy told The Washington Post.

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

The complete list of schools under open investigation as of May 1 are:

• Amherst College

• Arizona State University

• Bethany College

• Boston University

• Butte-Glen Community College District

• University of California-Berkeley

• Carnegie Mellon University

• Catholic University of America

• University of Chicago

• University of Colorado at Boulder

• University of Colorado at Denver

• University of Connecticut

• Cuny Hunter College

• Dartmouth College

• Denison University

• University of Denver

• Emerson College

• Emory University

• Florida State University

• Franklin and Marshall College

• Frostburg State University

• Guilford College

• Harvard College

• Harvard University - Law School

• University of Hawaii at Manoa

• Hobart and William Smith Colleges

• University of Idaho

• Indiana University-Bloomington

• Knox College

• University of Massachusetts-Amherst

• University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

• Michigan State University

• Minot State University

• University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

• Occidental College

• Ohio State University

• Oklahoma State University

• Pennsylvania State University

• Princeton University

• Regis University

• Sarah Lawrence College

• University of Southern California

• Southern Methodist University

• SUNY at Binghamton

• Swarthmore College

• Temple University

• The University of Texas Pan-American

• Vanderbilt University

• Vincennes University

• University of Virginia

• College of William and Mary

• Washington State University

• West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

• University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

• Wittenberg University

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