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.)
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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:
Arizona State 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
University of Denver
Florida State University
Franklin and Marshall College
Frostburg State University
Harvard University - Law School
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
University of Idaho
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Michigan State University
Minot State University
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ohio State University
Oklahoma State University
Pennsylvania State University
Sarah Lawrence College
University of Southern California
Southern Methodist University
SUNY at Binghamton
The University of Texas Pan-American
University of Virginia
College of William and Mary
Washington State University
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater