Frostburg State Violated Title IX, Education Dept. Finds

Frostburg State University, in Maryland, violated the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX in its handling of sexual-violence cases, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced on Friday in a news release.

After a prolonged investigation, the office found that Frostburg State had failed to respond promptly to complaints, including an alleged sexual assault, and did not end a sexually hostile environment for two students, the release said.

Among the office’s many findings, the investigation revealed that incidents off-campus or involving nonstudent victims or perpetrators were not fully investigated or, in some cases, investigated at all.

The department also found that five university policies intended to respond to complaints of sexual harassment or sexual violence did not comply with Title IX. And while the university’s new Title IX policy, instituted this year, made changes that brought Frostburg State into compliance with Title IX’s procedural requirements, problems persist.

In a resolution agreement with the department, the university will reimburse two complainants, whose reports of sexual misconduct were not handled in a timely manner, for counseling.

The university will also resolve shortcomings identified by the department during the investigation, and will now provide a written notice of the outcomes of complaints to both parties involved.

In a written statement, Frostburg State said that it had agreed to take such steps but was “not admitting that it is not in compliance” with Title IX. The university added that it had “cooperated fully” with the inquiry, and outlined some of the procedures it had put in place to prevent sexual violence.

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