Dartmouth under investigation for response to sexual misconduct
Dartmouth College and the University of Southern California are under investigation by the Education Department for their responses to campus sexual harassment and misconduct.
The department';s Office for Civil Rights is investigating the two colleges for violations of Title IX, the law that forbids gender discrimination at schools, Jim Bradshaw, a spokesman for the office, said in an e-mail.
The USC probe stems from a complaint students filed against the Los Angeles-based school in May, Bradshaw said. The office initiated the Dartmouth investigation — a review of the school';s compliance with Title IX — on its own, and won';t discuss the reason for it, he said in an e-mail.
';Compliance review sites are selected based on various sources of information, including information provided by parents, education groups, media, community organizations and the public, complaint information, and, in certain circumstances, on statistical and demographic data,'; Bradshaw said.
Students at Hanover, N.H.-based Dartmouth filed a complaint in May that said the college has violated the Clery Act, which requires schools to report crimes, including sexual assaults, to the Education Department. The department began its probe of Dartmouth in May, and it relates to sexual harassment grievance procedures, the college';s response to sexual harassment claims and the designation and notice of a Title IX coordinator, Bradshaw said.
Dartmouth is cooperating with the investigation and working to improve its policies and practices, said Justin Anderson, a college spokesman, in an e-mailed statement. The school has worked to decrease sexual assaults and support victims, he said.
';We strive to maintain a process for handling complaints that is fair, supportive and incorporates best practices,'; Anderson said. ';Beyond responding to complaints, we have worked intentionally and diligently in recent years to reduce incidents of sexual assault on campus, create a climate of reporting and support those who have come forward to report sexual harassment or sexual assault.';
Known for guaranteeing female students equal access to college sports programs since its inception in 1972, Title IX has been more recently cited by women across the country saying that their schools don';t properly prevent and investigate sexual assaults and abuse. Students at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania filed a complaint in May, and the Education Department said last week that it began an inquiry.