For the very first time, the U.S. Department of Education has publicly revealed a list of colleges that are under investigation for possible violations regarding sexual assault and harassment complaints on their campuses.
Among the schools on the list include the Michigan State University, Arizona State University, Princeton University, Catholic University of America, Florida State University and Swarthmore College.
The federal department hoped the disclosure will encourage dialogue but most importantly persuade schools to review and toughen up their procedures as to how they handle and manage campus sexual violence cases.
"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," Catherine Lhamon, the Education Department's assistant secretary for civil rights, said in a statement.
An unidentified Department of Education spokesman cited by Reuters said resolutions will be negotiated with a school found to have violated the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. However, if the education institution refuse to negotiate or comply, it will be subjected to further enforcement action, which could include a Justice Department litigation or withdrawal of federal funding.
The Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is an instrument that ensures students are given full ability to participate in educational and other opportunities at schools that receive federal funds without gender bias. Colleges, universities and schools given federal funds cannot discriminate based off of a student's gender as stipulated under Title IX.
Moreover, the Department of Education would post resolution agreements and compliance findings for settled cases. "That will also be hugely valuable to motivate proactive compliance by universities and to provide more blueprints for compliance," Erin E. Buzuvis, a Title IX expert and a law professor at Western New England University, told New York Times.
As cases of sexual assault and violence rise, more and more victims are citing Title IX, claiming their schools failed to protect them.
Colleges and universities are required to have a Title IX coordinator so students can report a wide range of violence including sex-related crimes.
This list reflects investigations open as of May 1, 2014. Schools are listed alphabetically by state.
Arizona State University
Butte-Glen Community College District
University of California-Berkeley
University of Southern California
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Colorado at Denver
University of Denver
University of Connecticut
Catholic University of America
Florida State University
University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Idaho
University of Chicago
Harvard University-Law School
University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Frostburg State University
Michigan State University
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Minot State University
Cuny Hunter College
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Sarah Lawrence College
Suny at Binghamton
Ohio State University
Oklahoma State University
Carnegie Mellon University
Franklin and Marshall College
Pennsylvania State University
Southern Methodist University
The University of Texas-Pan American
College of William and Mary
University of Virginia
Washington State University
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine
"Today's move by the Department of Education is an important, helpful step for students and their parents, who until today had no way of knowing whether their school was under investigation for Title IX violations," Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, said. "We'll continue working to help schools provide the highest level of responsiveness and protections for victims and to require the federal government to provide the highest level of transparency on compliance and enforcement."