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Report: Sarah Lawrence College Among Schools with Open Title IX Investigations

A total of four New York higher education institutions were named in the federal report.

A federal report released Thursday listed Sarah Lawrence College among 55 higher education institutions with open Title IX sexual violence investigations. 

The Obama Administration has made ridding colleges of sexually based crimes a priority, and the report is part of the effort to bring exposure to the problem.

"We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights," said Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon in a statement. "We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue. I also want to make it clear that a college or university's appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law."

The report was issued by the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and it stops short of giving details of the active cases. Title IX, part of the Education Amendments of 1972, "prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance."

In addition to Sarah Lawrence, the other New York schools on the list were Hobart and William Smith Colleges, CUNY Hunter College and SUNY at Binghamton.

Sarah Lawrence released a statement Thursday stressing that the college is "cooperating fully with the Office of Civil Rights" in the current investigation, and has already taken strong steps to let the campus know that it "does not tolerate sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or sexual assault."

Below is the full statement from the college:

Sarah Lawrence College does not tolerate sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or sexual assault.  We have a very fair and robust policy in place today, which we continually review and improve in order to best serve our community and to be in compliance with regulations.

The College is cooperating fully with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in its current investigation, and we look forward to seeing any recommendations to further improve our sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault policy.

Since the incident under investigation, the College has put several new measures in place to improve prevention, reporting, and student support, including:

· A thorough review of SLC’s sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault policy and procedures by the Health & Wellness Subcommittee of the Committee on Student Life (followed by a set of recommendations submitted to the Dean of Studies)

· The implementation of a Consent & Respect Online Course, which will be required for all new incoming students starting in Summer 2014

· The creation of an extensive, ongoing poster communications series on campus, advising students on “What to Do if You Have Been Sexually Assaulted”

· A presentation for students by the Date Safe Project

Most of these initiatives are ongoing, and we are also assessing other measures, such as bystander training program, which will be put in place as soon as practicable.

The College supports and will implement recommendations and action steps, outlined in the April 2014 report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, including the recommended Campus Climate Survey.  We look forward to reviewing policies considered exemplary by the White House Task Force when they are made public in September 2014.

Click here to see the report by the U.S. Department of Education.

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