Education Department Closes Title IX Investigation

The complainant requested to withdraw the complaint.

By Pete Grieve, Editor-in-Chief ('18–'19)

The Department of Education has closed a Title IX investigation at the University, bringing the number of open investigations down to two.

The Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University in an August 3 letter that it closed the investigation through “administrative closure” after the complainant requested to withdraw the complaint.

The OCR will administratively close an investigation when the complaint is withdrawn and there are no “systemic issues” that would warrant further investigation, the letter says. 

“OCR has determined that there are no systemic issues pending that were raised by the complaint allegation,” it reads.

An OCR letter that informed the complainant’s counsel of the investigation described the nature of the complaint: “This allegation raises the issue of whether, upon notice of your client’s [redacted] report of possible sexual assault committed by a University student, the University met its obligation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to determine whether a hostile environment existed in its program or activities,” it read. 

The complaint was received on March 30, 2015. The investigation was opened on February 3, 2016. The complainant’s request to withdraw was received on July 21, 2017.

University spokesperson Jeremy Manier said when the investigation was opened that the complaint predated actions the University took to improve Title IX compliance.

A Title IX investigation that was opened the same day appears to remain open. The complaint prompting that investigation alleged that the University’s “practices, policies, and procedures” for responding to reports of sexual violence did not comply with Title IX. The complaint also alleged that the University retaliated against a female student.

The other active investigation was opened in June 2013. It concerns a complaint that alleged the University failed to appropriately respond to reports of sexual assault.

Nationally, the OCR has 358 open investigations, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Title IX tracker

University spokesperson Marielle Sainvilus acknowledged in an e-mail Tuesday that the University's had received notification of the investigation’s closure.

“The University continues to make substantial efforts to respond to and address unlawful discrimination, sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking) and all forms of discriminatory harassment as well as increasing awareness of our policies, procedures, and resources,” the statement said. “We will continue to work with federal and state offices to ensure compliance with Title IX and relevant regulations, as part of the University’s broader commitment on these issues.”