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Justice Department Secures Title IX Agreement Addressing Campus Sexual Assault and Harassment with Case Western Reserve University

Photo by Tim Harrison for Ideastream

University Will Implement Major Reforms to Address Sex Discrimination

The Justice Department announced today an agreement with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, Ohio, to resolve a federal investigation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 into the university’s response to complaints of student-on-student and employee-on-student sexual harassment. Under the agreement, CWRU will undertake campus-wide reforms so that students can attend school and participate in Greek life programming free from sex discrimination, including sexual assault, sex-based stalking and retaliation for filing complaints of sex discrimination.

“All students should be able to participate in college life without being subjected to sex discrimination. Far too often, students on our nation’s college and university campuses face stalking, harassment or sexual assault,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “When sex discrimination rears its head, universities must respond appropriately to stop the misconduct and provide support so that the student can safely participate in school activities and complete their educational pursuits. This agreement would not have been possible without the many current and former student survivors who came forward and courageously shared their stories. We hope this agreement sends a message to the higher education community about the actions that must be taken to ensure that campuses are safe for all students.”

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office takes sex discrimination allegations such as these very seriously. The agreement provides not only for increased training but also for revised policies and procedures along with increased efforts at campus engagement and internal monitoring to address such matters proactively,” said U.S. Attorney Rebecca Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio. “This settlement sends a strong message that sexual harassment on college campuses will not be tolerated, and the measures in the agreement will help protect current and future students. We acknowledge and commend the students from CWRU whose efforts shined a light on this issue, and we look forward to working with CWRU to implement this important agreement.”

The department’s investigation, which was conducted jointly by the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, focused on CWRU’s response to student complaints and hundreds of social media reports alleging sexual harassment on campus and a hostile environment in Greek life. One quarter of CWRU’s undergraduate population participates in the university’s 10 sororities and 16 fraternities. The department’s investigation concluded that, among other things, CWRU did not respond appropriately to a well-known climate of sexual harassment in its Greek life program. Further, CWRU employees did not report sexual harassment complaints to the office tasked with responding to such allegations and providing students with support and resources. 

CWRU fully cooperated during this investigation. The agreement requires CWRU to undertake extensive reforms, including:

  • Publicizing Title IX policies and protocols and developing user-friendly materials so the CWRU community knows how to report concerns regarding sex discrimination and access resources to address it;
  • Delivering comprehensive annual training for all students and employees;
  • Implementing new policies, protocols and well-designed trainings to reform the university’s Greek Life programming;
  • Providing students who experience sex discrimination with resources to prevent disruptions to their education;
  • Funding the women’s center, Office of Greek Life and University Health and Counseling Services, as needed, to support students affected by sex discrimination; and
  • Conducting outreach and analyzing trends to strengthen prevention and response to sex discrimination on campus.

A summary of the agreement can be found here

Individuals with information related to CWRU’s compliance with Title IX are encouraged to contact the  Justice Department at 1-866-432-0339 or Outreach.CWRU@usdoj.gov. Members of the public may report possible civil rights violations at www.civilrights.justice.gov/report/.

Protecting students from harassment and other discrimination is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crt, and additional information about the work of the Educational Opportunities Section is available at www.justice.gov/crt/educational-opportunities-section.

Source: Department of Justice



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