Education Dept. Names 55 Institutions Facing Sex-Assault Investigations

The U.S. Department of Education on Thursday named 55 higher-education institutions that are under review for possible violations of the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX over their handling of sexual-violence complaints.

The department’s release of the list followed the Obama administration’s unveiling this week of new guidelines for colleges on how they should handle reports of sexual violence. Colleges nationwide are facing heightened scrutiny from student activists who say that their institutions have responded inadequately to alleged sexual assaults. Some of those activists had called on the department to make public the institutions under investigation.

Several of the institutions identified on the department’s list were already known to be facing investigations for possible Title IX violations, but the department called the document “the first comprehensive look” at all of the campuses under review by its Office for Civil Rights, or OCR. The list includes investigations spurred by complaints and those started by OCR as compliance reviews.

“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,” Catherine E. Lhamon, the department’s assistant secretary for civil rights, said in a written statement. She noted that a college’s appearance on the list does not mean that the institution had violated the law.

The department said the list would be “updated regularly” and made available to the public upon request.

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