The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights recently concluded a two-year-long investigation into Indiana University’s handling of a 2015 sexual assault case. The office’s investigation concluded that the university did not violate Title IX, the statute that regulates how universities must handle sexual assault claims. The department initiated its investigation after a student filed a Title IX complaint alleging that IU authorities had mishandled her rape case.
An attack and a complaint
The alleged assault occurred in 2015. A former student stated that she was raped by an acquaintance at a fraternity event. The young woman was taken to a nearby hospital, where she was treated for her injuries and processed for a rape kit. After the alleged attack, she filed a report with local police, who did not bring charges against the assailant.
She also reported the incident to authorities at IU. But the former student claims that the university failed to properly handle her case. In March of 2016, she filed a Title IX complaint alleging that the college authorities took an unreasonably long time to investigate and failed to follow proper procedures.
Title IX and college sexual assault
Title IX is a federal law that makes it illegal for universities to discriminate based on sex. It also applies to how universities handle allegations of sexual assault. Under Title IX, institutions of higher learning have an obligation to prevent, investigate and punish any sexual assaults, even if they occur off campus or involve non-students.
When someone files a Title IX complaint against a university, the U.S. Department of Education undertakes an in-depth investigation to determine whether any violations occurred. When a university fails to follow procedures under Title IX, it can incur serious penalties for violating its students’ civil rights.
Handling campus assault
Campus assault has become a pressing issue for many universities in the past few years, and Indiana University is no exception. Along with IU, several other universities have been accused of violating Title IX when handling allegations of sexual assault. To address concerns about its handling of sexual assault cases, IU signed a resolution agreement to submit to a compliance review by the Office of Civil Rights.