DOE launches sexual violence investigation at Brown
BROWN UNIVERSITY was one of 68 schools nationwide on a list provided by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights of investigations over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
PROVIDENCE – Brown University said Friday it would cooperate with a U.S. Department of Education Title IX investigation into a complaint made against the university.
Neither the DOE spokesman reached by phone and email nor Marisa A. Quinn, Brown’s vice president of public affairs and university relations, would identify the specifics of the complaint, but the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights provided a list of 68 pending investigations against academic institutions for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints, including an investigation against Brown initiated on July 10.
Fellow Ivy League schools Harvard University, Princeton University and Dartmouth College were also named on the list.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. The list, issued in May and updated since, is the “first comprehensive look at which campuses are under review by OCR for possible violations of the law’s requirements around sexual violence,” the federal agency said in May.
Brown University said in an email that it received notice on Friday from the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights that it is investigating the complaint.
“Our policy is not to discuss individual cases or details of ongoing reviews,” Brown said in an emailed statement. “We continue to work to ensure that we adhere to all best practices under Title IX, and have communicated the establishment of a task force charged with recommending improvements to our procedures.”
In a May 2 letter to the Brown community, President Christina H. Paxson said a Brown University Task Force on Sexual Assault would begin its work this fall and make recommendations no later than December.
“Simply put,” Paxson wrote, “our goal is to move Brown to a position of national leadership for prevention, advocacy and response to issues of sexual assault. This will require having policies and programs that are sensitive to the diversity of our student population.”
The Office of Civil Rights tries to conclude all investigations within six months, though some cases could take longer to resolve due to complexities, the DOE spokesman said.
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