Four more schools have joined the ranks of colleges and universities under federal investigation for their handling of sexual violence reports, the government said Wednesday, pushing the total for the first time past 100.
Among the four is highly ranked Stanford University in California. The others are Washington and Lee University in Virginia, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and Point Park University in Pennsylvania.
Since May, the Education Department has regularly disclosed a list of schools that its Office for Civil Rights is investigating in connection with sexual violence and the anti-discrimination law known as Title IX. The lists do not reveal any details about the investigations other than when they were begun.
Cases can begin when an individual files a complaint with the government, or when the government decides on its own to scrutinize a college’s compliance record.
Federal officials have said that when a college appears on the list, that does not mean it has been found in violation of the law.
On Feb. 21, Washington and Lee President Kenneth P. Ruscio notified the campus community that he had learned of the federal investigation. “We have pledged our full cooperation with OCR,” Ruscio wrote in a statement. “As I have written to you on several occasions this year and will reiterate here, sexual assault is unacceptable anywhere and runs counter to our institution’s fundamental values. Nothing is more important than the welfare of our students.”
Stanford spokeswoman Lisa Lapin wrote in an email: “Stanford is aware of the Office for Civil Rights investigation and will cooperate fully. Our policies for investigating and adjudicating sexual misconduct claims are in compliance with both the letter and spirit of Title IX, and we look forward to sharing them with the office.”
Wisconsin-Madison said in a statement: “The university is working closely with OCR. Sexual assault is unacceptable on our campus and we acknowledge the impact of these crimes on our students. We strive to respond promptly and appropriately to all reports of sexual assault and provide resources and support. This is an important issue and the university has worked diligently to ensure its policies comply with federal law and regulations.”
Point Park said it “takes very seriously its obligations under Title IX and its commitment to provide a safe and secure environment for our students and other members of the University community. Point Park does not tolerate sexual misconduct of any kind. The university has policies and practices in place to promptly and appropriately address complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and we have followed those policies. We are cooperating fully with the OCR.”