UPDATED: University under investigation for 3 Title IX violations
Updated July 14, 7:10 p.m. — The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is conducting three Title IX investigation into Washington University, the University learned this past Wednesday, according to Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Jill Friedman.
Two of those cases, which Student Life previously reported on, are cases related to sexual assault, Friedman confirmed. The third—while also a Title IX investigation—involves a complaint of sexual harassment. As of Friday, the University is aware of the specific cases involved, Freidman said.
“Importantly, in its communication to the university, the [Department of Education] underscored that the initiation of an investigation in no way implies that OCR has made a determination regarding the merits of a complaint,” Friedman told Student Life on Friday.
The University was only told that they were under investigation on Wednesday, not the specific cases involved, because of OCR processes.
Freidman added that next steps include providing the OCR with the information needed to continue the investigations.
“The process is in place at the University to first provide channels for reporting allegations and then for the University to investigate the allegations,” Friedman said on Thursday. “[The] message to the student body is that this is one important avenue that’s available. We certainly have respect for the process and we’ll fully comply.”
Last fall, the University pledged to raise the amount of money and resources dedicated to sexual violence and assault. Those initiatives included hiring two new Title IX staffers, expanding the Title IX office and permanently funding the Sexual Assault and Rape Anonymous Helpline (S.A.R.A.H.) as well as other goals.
This past spring semester, a then-Wash. U. freshman published “HAGS,” an op-ed in Student Life, detailing her experience of reporting a rape to Wash. U.’s Title IX office. At the time of the op-ed’s publication, it had been more than 120 days since the student reported the assault, more than double the 60 day federal guideline to complete an investigation, yet an initial report had yet to be filed.
Changes and updates in the status of the cases can be found in a public database run by the Chronicle of Higher Education. That publication files weekly requests for all publicly available federal documents pertaining to open investigations on college campuses. Friedman said the third case does not fall under the jurisdiction of the types of Title IX violations the database collects and reports.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the Sexual Assault and Rape Anonymous Helpline as a Hotline. We apologize for the mistake.