The U.S. Education Department has begun an investigation of how American University responds to sexual violence, officials disclosed Wednesday, pushing the total of colleges and universities under federal scrutiny to 104.
With the announcement, AU becomes the second university in the District of Columbia listed as under investigation for compliance with the federal anti-discrimination law known as Title IX in connection with sexual violence. The other is Catholic University, which has been the subject of a Title IX probe since January 2014.
The investigation at AU began on March 11, the department said, without disclosing further details. The list encompasses all types of colleges, public and private, big and small, from coast to coast. Department officials, who began public disclosure of their Title IX probes in May, have said that the beginning of an investigation by the Office for Civil Rights does not indicate any finding of wrongdoing on the part of a college.
AU’s dean of students, Rob Hradsky, said in a statement to the campus community: “We take this news seriously and will use the opportunity to learn if there is more we can do to augment the significant commitments we have made in the last several years to create an environment that is safe, responsive, and compliant with the law. AU does not tolerate any form of sexual violence or sexual misconduct. University complaints are investigated promptly, reported properly, and steps are immediately taken to stop discriminatory behavior, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects, especially through support to the survivor.”
Two other schools also joined the list Wednesday: San Francisco State University in California and Langston University in Oklahoma.