U.S. Department of Education Releases List of Higher Education Institutions with Open Title IX Sexual Violence Investigations

This is a news release from the Department of Education.

My own institution, Wright State University, is not on the list, but a member of our executive committee observed: “It’s great that we’re not on it, but unfortunately this is still a problem on our campus. We also have no rape crisis center either on campus or even in the entire Miami Valley, which is inexcusable. Because of the kinds of courses I teach, students report many personal experiences to me that occur both on and near campus, and it’s incredibly depressing.”

Action on this issue is long overdue, but addressing it in meaningful ways is going to be a long-term and complex process requiring an extended commitment by the government and by our institutions. There are not going to be any quick fixes.

It does seem, however, that, despite the efforts of New York Senator Kirsten Gillebrand,  there is now more willingness to tackle the issue of sexual violence on our campuses than in our military.


The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released today a list of the higher education institutions under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.

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. In the past, Department officials confirmed individual Title IX investigations at institutions, but today’s list is the first comprehensive look at which campuses are under review by OCR for possible violations of the law’s requirements around sexual violence.

“We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said. “We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue. I also want to make it clear that a college or university’s appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law.”

As with all OCR investigations, the primary goal of a Title IX investigation is to ensure that the campus is in compliance with federal law, which demands that students are not denied the ability to participate fully in educational and other opportunities due to sex.

The Department will not disclose any case-specific facts or details about the institutions under investigation. The list includes investigations opened because of complaints received by OCR and those initiated by OCR as compliance reviews. When an investigation concludes, the Department will disclose, upon request, whether OCR has entered into a resolution agreement to address compliance concerns at a particular campus or found insufficient evidence of a Title IX violation there.

The list of institutions under investigation for Title IX sexual violence issues will be updated regularly and made available to the public upon request by contacting OCR or to media by contacting the Press Office atpress@ed.gov.

Releasing this list advances a key goal of President Obama’s White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault to bring more transparency to the federal government’s enforcement activities around this issue. The Obama administration is committed to putting an end to sexual violence—particularly on college campuses. That’s why the President established the Task Force earlier this year with a mandate to strengthen federal enforcement efforts and provide schools with additional tools to combat sexual assault on their campuses.

As part of that work, the Education Department released updated guidance earlier this week describing the responsibilities of colleges, universities and schools receiving federal funds to address sexual violence and other forms of sex discrimination under Title IX. The guidelines provide greater clarity about the requirements of the law around sexual violence—as requested by institutions and students.

All colleges, and universities and K-12 schools receiving federal funds must comply with Title IX. Schools that violate the law and refuse to address the problems identified by OCR can lose federal funding or be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for further action.

Under federal law, sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent — including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse and sexual coercion.

OCR’s mission is to ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence throughout the nation through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights. OCR is responsible for enforcing federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination by educational institutions on the basis of disability, race, color, national origin, sex, and age, as well as the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act of 2001. Additional information about the office is available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html.

This 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


See the previous posts to this blog on this issue:

“Sexual Assaults on Campus (mine):


“Rape Denial on Campus,” by John K. Wilson:












3 thoughts on “U.S. Department of Education Releases List of Higher Education Institutions with Open Title IX Sexual Violence Investigations

  1. Just because a campus may not be listed doesn’t mean that its administration might not be in court or before the state’s human rights commission or another Federal agency (e.g. HHS, etc.) for discrimination. While faculty and staff are also covered by Title IX, they often forget this fact and/or use a different venue, the state’s affiliate with the EEOC, for example, to lodge complaints of sexual discrimination, harassment, retaliation.

    DOED acts as a political organization and it conveniently “loses” complaint files, dismisses valid allegations or badgers complainants into withdrawals. Further, it has a poor track record in the matter of investigating retaliation allegations, leaving complainants exposed. In short, the list must be understood as a very limited “snapshot” of discrimination cases which DOED has cherry-picked for its docket.

    • This is a very astute comment. It provides a more formal framework for understanding the limitations to what the Department of Education has done than the observation made by my colleague on our executive committee, but it seems very consistent with that observation.

      The Department of Education is not one of the cabinet-level departments in which I have the greatest faith. Even when their hearts seem to be in the right place, their policies seem wrong-headed–at times almost incredibly so. And as with all federal departments, it is generally very difficult to distinguish whether they are actually attempting to do the right thing or simply making a good show of trying to do the right thing.

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