Sunday, April 06, 2014

More staff to OCR?

We hope so!
Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Claire McCaskill have sent a letter, signed by a handful of other Democratic senators, requesting an increase in staffing at the Office of Civil Rights, specifically to investigate complaints about sexual assault on college campuses. They are asking for additions to the 12-person staff that currently is responsible for investigating Clery Act complaints. This increase in staffing would seem more than appropriate given the recent expansion of the Clery Act to require colleges and universities to report additional crimes.
Also, as many of us know, OCR seems desperately understaffed. This impedes their ability to investigate both Title IX and Clery Act complaints about sexual assault (which continues to constitute a minority of the annual complaints but is growing at an exponential pace).
The Senators are requesting $2 million to cover the costs of hiring and training 13 employees who would be tasked with investigating complaints regarding sexual assault.
Gillibrand and McCaskill have chosen an opportune time to make the request given the growing profile of these cases, their numbers, and the likelihood that they will continue to grow. Still, I would expect that granting their request is guaranteed.