Grinnell College has asked the federal government to help determine whether the Iowa institution complied with federal sex-discrimination law in three cases of sexual violence, the Associated Press reports.
The college’s request, to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, is unusual. Typically a complaint from another party about an institution prompts an investigation by the office. Nearly 100 American colleges are now under investigation for their compliance with the gender-equity law known as Title IX. In his recent budget proposal, President Obama requested a 31-percent funding increase for the agency that would allow it to hire 210 new full-time staff members.
The office commended the college for the request but did not say whether it would investigate.
The college’s president, Raynard S. Kington, told the Associated Press that the request posed a risk. “We know we’re a small college in the middle of Iowa,” he said. “We could be erased in a moment by any number of forces. OCR could destroy us. The press could destroy us. But you know what? We’re willing to take that chance because we are doing what we think is right.”