Morgan State now part of federal probe of handling of sexual-violence reports

Morgan State University in Baltimore is among dozens of colleges and universities under federal investigation for possible violations of anti-discrimination law in handling reports of sexual violence.

The investigation of Morgan State began June 26, according to a document that the U.S. Education Department made public Wednesday.

The document identifies 67 institutions of higher education facing active Title IX sexual-violence investigations by the department’s Office for Civil Rights, up from 55 on May 1. Title IX is the 1972 law that prohibits gender discrimination.

Citing the law, the federal government requires colleges to come to prompt and equitable resolutions of sexual-violence complaints regardless of whether they become criminal cases.

Clinton R. Coleman, a spokesman for Morgan State, said the federal investigation appears to be connected to an incident this year involving a female student and an allegation of rape. He said city police investigated the case and the state’s attorney’s office declined to prosecute.

The university, he said, is reviewing whether there was any student misconduct.

“We at Morgan take all reports of violence — especially when they involve these kinds of cases, sexual violence — we take them all very seriously,” Coleman said.

He said the university welcomes the federal inquiry.

“All we want to happen is, we’re seeking the truth and we want to see justice done,” Coleman said. “We have nothing to hide.”

Others in the Washington region under federal investigation include Catholic University in the District, Frostburg State University in western Maryland and four schools in Virginia: the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, James Madison University and the University of Richmond.

Federal officials have cautioned that they have made no findings that colleges on the list violated the law. The list includes community colleges, Ivy League schools and many prominent state flagship universities.

The longest open investigation, of Ohio State University, is four years old.

Schools can land on the list two ways: If an individual files a complaint with the government or if the government initiates a compliance review.

Also added to the list this week were Colorado State University, with an investigation opened June 24, and Washburn University in Kansas, with an investigation that opened Tuesday.

A Washington Post analysis of federal data on forcible sex offenses at campuses found that there was a rising number of reported offenses at many colleges in recent years.

Nick Anderson covers higher education for The Washington Post. He has been a writer and editor at The Post since 2005.
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