Thursday, January 16, 2014

OCR to Investigate Sexual Assault Complaints Against Emerson College

The Department of Education has confirmed that it will investigate three Title IX complaints filed against Emerson College in Boston, in which female students allege that the school failed to promptly respond to reported sexual violence.  The complaints, filed last October -- and one of which we blogged about then -- have been consolidated into a single investigation, the scope of which will reportedly include interviews with the complainants and with college staff and potentially a visit to the college. 

One of the students' complaints alleges that she was raped at an off-campus party by an Emerson College student and an MIT student, and was later dissuaded from reporting it to the police by Emerson college staff.  The college moreover failed to take any action against the accused Emerson student, allowing him to attack her a second time. The second student alleged that she was raped by a fellow student, and when she reported it a year later, the investigation was mishandled and insensitive.  The third student also alleged that the college failed to adequately investigate a reported sexual assault, as well as denied her academic accommodations that would have helped her get through a stressful time. 

OCR will investigate these claims to determine whether the college complied with its obligation under Title IX to end sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.