DENVER - Four Colorado higher education institutions are under investigation for possible violations of the federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights released list of the schools which include the University of Colorado Boulder, University of Colorado Denver, University of Denver and Regis University.
"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 in a statement. "We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue."
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 primary goal of a Title IX investigation is to ensure that the campus is in compliance with federal law.
Any case-specific facts or details about the institutions under investigation, aside from when the investigation began, will not be released.
Schools that violate the law and do not address the problems found can lose federal funding or be referred to the U.S. Department of Justice for further action.
Regis University's response:
The U.S. Department of Education has released a list of all Universities and Colleges that presently have Title IX complaints pending before the Office of Civil Rights. Regis University has one complaint pending before the Office of Civil Rights which stems from a 2011 alleged incident. Regis University takes the complaint seriously and has responded appropriately. At Regis University, the safety and well-being of our students and staff is a top priority. Because of confidentiality requirements of both our Title IX policy and Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, which protects student information, we cannot discuss the specifics of the matter.
University of Denver's response:
More than a decade ago, the University of Denver revised how it deals with sexual harassment and violence on and off campus developing a zero tolerance policy. The University takes each claim seriously and works to ensure that all claims involving Title IX or similar laws are handled fairly, judicially and expeditiously. The University of Denver follows the guidelines of the United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights for incidents of sexual assault and provides for the prompt and equitable resolution of sexual discrimination complaints. If a member of the campus community does not agree with the outcome of an investigation, that person has the right to share those concerns with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Such cases remain open until the OCR makes a final determination on the outcome. The situation just described is the reason for the University of Denver's inclusion on the list of 55 institutions that have an open investigation with the OCR involving sexual violence. "We are confident that we handle all instances fairly, appropriately and accurately," said University Spokesperson Will Jones. "One member of the campus community did not agree with the outcome of an investigation and exerted their right to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights. The University responded to the OCR more than four months ago and are awaiting OCR's determination." In addition, the University's Health & Counseling Center operates a Center for Advocacy, Prevention, and Empowerment (CAPE) which provides programs and resources that promote healthy relationships, non-violence and a respectful and safe environment. Off campus, the University maintains relationships with multiple nonprofit groups specializing in issues of sexual assault who offer additional services to the campus community. These include the Rape Assistance and Awareness Program, the Colorado Coalition against Domestic Violence and the Colorado Coalition against Sexual Assault.
University of Colorado Boulder's response:
The University of Colorado Boulder publicly announced last summer that the campus was the subject of a U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Title IX investigation, so being on the department's list today was not a surprise. An external review of our campus Title IX protocols and procedures released by the campus this past January showed CU-Boulder to be in compliance with federal law, and we are taking more steps recommended in that review, including the appointment later this summer of a campus Title IX director to oversee all Title IX efforts at CU-Boulder. The list of schools being investigated released today by OCR underscores the importance of this issue in American higher education, and the CU-Boulder leadership is committed to being a national leader in providing a learning environment of equality and safety for women.
University of Colorado Denver's response:
The University of Colorado Denver had not been notified of an open Title IX investigation before receiving the press release today from the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR.) After receiving the release, the university contacted OCR and learned that the investigation notification was mailed on April 29, 2014. This is not an investigation of a specific incident but is instead a general review of our Title IX compliance. CU Denver supports the mission of OCR to "ensure equal access to education and promote educational excellence nationwide through the vigorous enforcement of civil rights" and plans to cooperate fully with the forthcoming process. CU Denver is committed to providing a safe and secure campus environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors.
This list reflects investigations open as of May 1, 2014. Schools are listed alphabetically by state:
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
BUTTE-GLEN COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA-BERKELEY
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT BOULDER
UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT DENVER
UNIVERSITY OF DENVER
UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII AT MANOA
UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
HARVARD UNIVERSITY - LAW SCHOOL
UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS-AMHERST
FROSTBURG STATE UNIVERSITY
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-ANN ARBOR
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL
MINOT STATE UNIVERSITY
CUNY HUNTER COLLEGE
HOBART AND WILLIAM SMITH COLLEGES
SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE
SUNY AT BINGHAMTON
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY
CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY
FRANKLIN AND MARSHALL COLLEGE
PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY
THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS-PAN AMERICAN
COLLEGE OF WILLIAM AND MARY
UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA
WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-WHITEWATER
WEST VIRGINIA SCHOOL OF OSTEOPATHIC MEDICINE
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)