UW-Whitewater listed in federal sex violence investigation

May 1, 2014

By Alexandria Zamecnik

 

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a list of 55 higher education institutions under investigation for possible violations of Title IX or  federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater was the only Wisconsin school listed.

Title IX  states that “no person in the United States shall on the basis of sex be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Title IX forbids sex discrimination in all university student services and academic programs including admissions, financial aid, academic advising, housing, athletics, recreational services, college residential life programs, health services, counseling and psychological services, Registrar’s office, classroom assignments, grading and discipline.

“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,” Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said. “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,” said in a press release.

Mary Beth Mackin, dean of students and deputy Title IX coordinator, declined to comment on the on-going investigation and referred all questions to UW-Whitewater Marketing Media and Relations.

UW-Whitewater Director of University Marketing and Media Relations Sara Kuhl released a statement to the Royal Purple in an email:

“Statement regarding Title IX investigation from UW-Whitewater Director of University Marketing and Media Relations Sara Kuhl:

A complaint was filed against the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. That complaint is currently under investigation and because of thatongoing investigation, we cannot comment further.

 UW-Whitewater is concerned about the safety and well being of all its students, faculty and staff, and takes reports of sexual violence and harassment seriously. All reports of sexual or gender-based misconduct are investigated in a timely and effective manner.  Complainants are provided with resources, assistance in making reports to law enforcement, options for changing class and work schedules, options for changing living arrangements, and information about counseling and survivor programs.  All student complainants are provided with a brochure outlining these rights and a sheet explaining the law enforcement reporting process.
There are multiple resources available to educate students and others regarding their rights. UW-Whitewater has a comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Information website and includes information regarding Title IX,institutional policies, investigations, prevention information and reporting at http://www.uww.edu/sexual-misconduct-information”
Further information will be released from the U.S. Department of Education when investigations conclude. Look for more information in the May 7 edition of the Royal Purple. 
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