Friday, September 09, 2016

Frostburg State Agrees to Title IX Compliance

Today the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights announced an agreement with Frostburg State University in Maryland that will obligate the university to address violations of Title IX revealed by an OCR investigation of 40 incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault that the university had a responsibility to address.

In a press release, OCR summarized some of the university's violations as follows:
Required reporting by mandatory reporters that were not made even though they had notice of an alleged rape. 
Reported off-campus incidents and incidents involving non-student victims or perpetrators that were not investigated or were not fully investigated. 
Repeated violations of a no contact order that were not properly addressed and adequate steps to safeguard the victim were not taken. 
Sufficient interim measures that were not provided to victims. 
Requests for confidentiality that were not balanced against the need to keep the community safe. 
Title IX investigations that were not launched due to an improper reliance upon local or campus police investigations and reports.
In addition, the university resolved a complaint informally that should have gone through a formal hearing process, and took 10 months to resolve another. In one case, the university failed to conduct its own independent investigation of a matter that it instead referred to local law enforcement.  And while recent revisions to the university's policy for addressing sexual harassment and sexual violence complaints addressed most of the earlier shortcomings, some deficiencies remain.

In the agreement, the university agrees to bring its policies into compliance, conduct additional training, reimburse two complainants for the cost of counseling and academic services that the university should have provided, address identified failures to conduct adequate investigations, provide written notice of remedial services, and provide written notice of the outcome of the complaint investigation to the parties, conduct its own retrospective review of sexual harassment complaints to determine whether the investigation was prompt and equitable, and enhance its outreach and climate assessment efforts.