55 Schools Across America Are Under Investigation for Their Handling of Sexual Assault

55 Schools Across America Are Under Investigation for Their Handling of Sexual Assault
Source: Getty
Source: Getty

Directly on the heels of the White House's star-studded anti-sexual assault PSA, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has released a list of all the schools currently under investigation for possible mishandling of sexual assault and harassment cases. And it is staggering.

All told, the list reveals that 55 schools across the country — from small liberal arts colleges like Amherst to big state schools like UC-Berkeley — have open Title IX sexual violence investigations. According to the Wire, this is the first time such information has been made publicly available without specifically asking for it.

An open investigation is not proof that a school has violated Title IX (explained below), but it's important that both current and former students are able to see data on how their schools handle sexual assault cases. Publishing such information can also pressure schools to take these issues seriously. As assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said in a press release, "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. We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue."

The OCR has stated that the list will be updated regularly and made available to the public upon request.

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that protects students from gender-based discrimination. Part of the Education Amendments of 1972, the statute is best known for ensuring equal athletic opportunities for female students but has been invoked in recent years to fight sexual harassment and assault on campus. Under Title IX, sexual harassment, rape and assault all fall under gender-based discrimination that violates a student's right to equal access to education. Title IX is not exclusive to women, and campaigns like Know Your IX aim to educate both female and male students about their rights under the law. (For more on Title IX, check out this great list of basics from the Know Your IX campaign.)

The list's publication coincides with several high-profile examples of schools coming under heavy fire for their handling of sexual assault cases. Harvard students filed a Title IX complaint on March 31 after a searing open-letter in the school paper condemned the university for its treatment of survivors, and an official investigation into Title IX violations was recently confirmed by the Department of Education. BuzzFeed recently reported on the "sexual assault civil war" at Occidental College, and nearly 50,000 activists demanded reform at Dartmouth after a student-run website published a "rape guide." And on Monday, Tufts University was found out of compliance with Title IX and subsequently backed out of its Voluntary Resolution Agreement — a decision met with outrage by many students.

The White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault also released its guidelines for colleges to combat sexual assault on campus during a meeting in Washington on Tuesday.

Here are the schools listed, in alphabetical order by state:

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

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Julianne Ross

Julianne is the Opinion Editor at Mic. Her writing has also appeared in places like TheAtlantic.com, Boston.com, Everyday Feminism and Role Reboot.

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