WM, UVA on list of schools facing sex assault investigations

WASHINGTON (AP/WAVY) — The Education Department has taken the unprecedented step of releasing the names of the 55 colleges and universities currently facing a Title IX sexual abuse investigation.

The release comes two days after a White House task force promised greater government transparency on sexual assault in higher education. The agency previously would confirm such an investigation when asked, but students and others were often unaware of them.

Two Virginia colleges are on the list, including the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. To see the rest of the list, click here.

Brian Whitson with the College of William and Mary issued the following statement Thursday:

“We have received notification about a complaint made to the Office of Civil Rights and we are working with them to provide the information they requested. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act prohibits me from discussing the details of the specific case that led to this but, in general, I can tell you sexual assault response and education is an area we are very focused on. We continually look at our own practices to determine if they can be improved or enhanced. Since this is a broad review of our policies and practices by OCR , the result may well provide us valuable information as we continue to look at new ways to address an issue that confronts every university in the country.”

Title IX prohibits gender discrimination at schools that receive federal funds. It is the same law that guarantees girls equal access to sports, but it also regulates institutions’ handling of sexual violence and increasingly is being used by victims who say their school failed to protect them.

“Sexual assault is a complicated issue and when you have it on college campuses it’s even more,” said Kristen Pines, Deputy Director of Women’s Services for the YWCA of South Hampton Roads. “So, I love the steps the government is taking and I’m encouraged there will be more. Victims should get the services they need, know that the colleges take it seriously and that local organizations like the YWCA are here to help them.”

The list reflects investigations open as of May 1, 2014. Schools are listed alphabetically by state:

State     Institution

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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