U.S. Department of Education Investigates Schools Over Handling of Gender-Based Misconduct

In May, the U.S. Department of Education released a list of schools under investigation for violation of federal regulations over handling of complaints of sexual harassment and assault. Four institutions in New York are on the list.

Under Title IX of the Higher Education Act, discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited in any education program or activity that receives federal funds. The schools listed are suspected of violating the Act when acting on gender or assault-based complaints.

In making public the list of 55 schools under investigation, the Department of Education hopes to support discussion of discrimination and misconduct. Notes Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Catherine E. Lhamon, “We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue.”

The New York schools that appear on the list include:

  • CUNY Hunter College
  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • SUNY at Binghamton

Interestingly, Columbia University does not currently appear on the list.

In late April, a group of students filed three complaints against Columbia University and associated institution Barnard College, with the U.S. Department of Education. The complaints allege inappropriate handling of allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct on the campus of Columbia University.

In early May, the Department of Education also released a guidance document concerning procedural requirements for institutions responding to complaints of sexual harassment or assault. The comprehensive document outlines recommended measures from investigation to appeals of allegations of sexual violence.

Unchecked sexual misconduct in university could lead to sexual harassment in the workforce. If you have questions about gender-based misconduct in New York, seek experienced legal advice.

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