Campus / News / May 16, 2016

BREAKING: OCR opens third investigation for sex discrimination complaint

The Office of Civil Rights has opened a third investigation into Knox’s Title IX procedures.

The investigation was opened April 6, according to the Chronicle of Higher Ed, and is now being tacked onto two pending investigations that were opened in June and January 2014.

None of the three cases have been resolved, and Knox is not sure of its status.

According to President Teresa Amott, the college wasn’t aware that a third complaint was being filed, though rumors of complaints spread often on social media.

“I think we are in a world in which people are exercising their Title IX rights … If people feel aggrieved then we believe that they have a right to express that and seek redress,” Amott said Tuesday.

The OCR also opened investigations into Stanford, Washington State and Whitworth University in the last week. This is Washington State’s third open investigation, and Stanford’s fifth and Whitworth’s first. None of the open investigations at these schools have been resolved.

But only 17 percent of investigations have been closed, says the Chronicle.

Knox made national news in 2014 when it was listed as one of the 55 schools under investigation by the OCR. The open investigations prompted a nationwide conversation about sexual assault on campuses, and in 2016, the Obama administration was granted $107 million to hire 200 full-time employees, according to the Chronicle.

Now, there are 234 sexual-violence investigations at 184 colleges and universities.

Knox still has the most and longest-standing cases of all ACM schools. A complaint was opened against Monmouth in September, and against Grinnell in July.

Under the grievance panel method, trials were held in Old Main where all participants and witnesses were supervised until the presentation of the case concluded. (Williams Shen/TKS)

Under the grievance panel method, trials were held in Old Main where all participants and witnesses were supervised until the presentation of the case concluded. (Williams Shen/TKS)

While this particular complaint will not directly shape any policy changes, it may inform new changes on campus. Amott said the college is informed by a number of factors, including publicized OCR resolutions, court cases and Knox advocacy organizations.

According to Title IX Coordinator Kim Schrader, the college plans to “continue to comply and be responsive to guidance by the OCR.”

Since arriving on campus March 1, Vice President for Student Development Anne Ehrlich has been hosting conversations surrounding Knox’s Title IX policies. She says it’s positive students are taking advantage of the Office of Civil Rights.

“Does it make me feel good that a student may feel like they may need to go to a vehicle outside of the institution? No,” she said. “Am I proud that they take advantage of that for themselves? Yeah, I am.”

The last case closed by the OCR was on April 22, 2016 against University of New Mexico and found “significant gaps” in university procedures, according to the department. OCR is a division of the Department of Education that primarily responds to discrimination complaints and works to ensure Title IX compliance.

This is a developing story. Check back with The Knox Student for continuing coverage.

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Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a senior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. She started working for TKS as a freshman and subsequently served as managing editor, co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of four awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. She won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize in 2015 and 2014 and the Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism in 2014. She has interned at FILTER Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WGIL radio and the Virginian-Pilot.

Twitter: @KateMishkin

Tags:  Department of Education grievance panel kim schrader lori schroeder Office of Civil Rights title ix

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Kate Mishkin
Kate Mishkin is a senior majoring in English literature and minoring in journalism. She started working for TKS as a freshman and subsequently served as managing editor, co-news editor and co-mosaic editor. Kate is the recipient of four awards from the Illinois College Press Association for news and feature stories and one award from the Associated Collegiate Press. She won the Theodore Hazen Kimble Prize in 2015 and 2014 and the Ida M. Tarbell Prize in Investigate Journalism in 2014. She has interned at FILTER Magazine, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and WGIL radio and the Virginian-Pilot. Twitter: @KateMishkin




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