Department of Education

Department of Education Says Tufts University Sexual Assault Policy Violates Title IX

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The U.S. Department of Education (ED) has found Boston-based Tufts University to be out of compliance with Title IX due to its handling of student sexual assault on campus. The case highlights what's become a common and controversial application of Title IX—the statute designed to prevent sex-based discrimination in education—as well as the ED's increased meddling in matters of campus sexual assault and harassment. 

The ED's Office for Civil Rights, which handles Title IX enforcement, is currently investigating the Univesity of Chicago, Harvard, Columbia University, and Tufts for allegations of mishandling sexual assault cases. The Tufts case stems from a complaint filed by a female student in September 2010. From The Boston Globe

The unnamed Tufts undergraduate … (said) that the school had discriminated against her on the basis of gender in how it responded to her report that she was sexually assaulted by her boyfriend at that time. She also said the university retaliated against her by threatening to remove her from a selective leadership program if she refused to attend weekly seminars with her alleged attacker, according to a letter the Office for Civil Rights sent Monaco Monday.

Ultimately, in June 2011, Tufts found there was insufficient evidence to sustain her allegations. She was put on probation after a finding that she had fabricated a letter about her medical conditions and had not been truthful with university officials, according to the Office for Civil Rights.

The accused student was also put on probation for having misrepresented himself as a Tufts medical student to obtain confidential medical information about his accuser.

In a Monday ruling, the ED did not fault Tufts's ultimate decision in the case, nor did it find that Tufts retaliated against the accusing student. But it did decide that Tufts is not complying with federal guidelines on how schools should address sexual assault cases.

Specifically, it faulted Tufts for waiting six months to launch an investigation into the student's assault complaints, not issuing a decision for another 12 months, and allowing potentially prejudicial information in the disciplinary case. That's no doubt inexcusably shoddy handling of the situation from the university—but a form of "gender discrimination?" 

Routine bureaucratic incompetence and oversight could also fit the bill.

Failure to "reach an agreement" with the Office for Civil Rights could result in Tufts losing all federal funding. But though Tufts listed an array of improvements it had made in sexual assault policies since 2010 (and agreed to compensate the student), it objected to the ED's finding that it's in violation of Title IX.

"Tufts' refusal to go along with the Office for Civil Rights may be the beginning of a backlash from universities against what some see as excessive government intervention," The Globe notes. 

Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president at the American Council on Education, said many colleges believe that the Office for Civil Rights often fails to negotiate in good faith, with Washington officials frequently vetoing agreements hammered out by regional government lawyers.

He saw the action against Tufts as posturing prior to a White House event planned for Tuesday, when the findings of a task force on sexual assault are expected to be released.

Since 2011, the ED has investigated dozens of American colleges—including Yale, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Occidental College—on allegations of Title IX violations based on handling of sexual assault cases. 

NEXT: Study: One Out of Twenty Five Death Row Inmates Is Innocent

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  1. the whole point of this is to make every male on college campuses subject to immediate discipline on the word of any female. The same department that is bringing this suit thinks it is perfectly okay to punish a male for a drunken hookup when both the male and female equally violated the university rule against any sex not undertaken in a known and completely sober state and accompanied by proper professional pre and post coitus counseling.

    1. Actually, there appears to be push back.

      “There is no need for an intent to rape, but there has to be something more than an intent to have sex to make this an offense,” he writes. “Otherwise, men are simply being punished for having sex, which is sex discrimination under Title IX, because their partners are having sex too and are not being subjected to the code of conduct for doing so.” Title IX, after all, protects students of both sexes from sex discrimination.

      1. Someone needs to sue over this. It certainly won’t be the Obama Education department that does it.

        1. Who wants to be the guy that has to drag his own name and reputation through the mud after being accused of a sexual assault for a drunken hookup? It’s easier to accept the punishment and move on to another school than risk the backlash of defending himself. Same goes for the lawyer that takes the case up.

          It’s akin to accused people pleading down when the cops overcharge them. A month in county is a lot better than risking a 5 year sentence to some people, even if they know they are innocent.

          1. You don’t have to be actually accused to have standing to sue. You just need to be a male who is subject to the rules. You don’t have to be a scholarship athlete to sue for them giving too many men scholarships. You just have to be a female student who could have gotten a scholarship had it been available.

      2. I have to say, I really wish he had worded that differently. The fact he said “[t]here is no need for an intent to rape,” in the context of saying that the intent to have sex with the “knowledge of that incapacitation, whether actual or constructive” of the drunken second party would be sexual assault (or rape) is going to lead to a million retarded Jez-style complaints. “He doesn’t even know what rape is!”

        That said, dude seems pretty righteous.

        1. Eh, unless he name checks Jessica Valenti and talks about an active consent model of rape, then the Jezzies/internet feminists would say he doesn’t know what rape is.

          1. Birth control isn’t 100% effective but I still believe in prophylaxis, man.

  2. “U.S. Department of Education (ED)”

    Huh huh, ED, huh huh

    Seriously, what if the sexual assault policy is to have students give their complaints to the real-world police for investigation and possible prosecution?

    I mean, the feds wouldn’t question the fairness of the regular judicial system, would they?

    1. Now you’re just acting crazy, like colleges aren’t supposed to act in loco parentis until you graduate.

    2. I know. College disciplinary systems are supposed to be for things like cheating/plagiarism or making noise after a dorm’s quiet hours. It’s not supposed to be a bizarre Star Chamber clone for crimes that have another, already well-defined, jurisdiction.

      1. Exactly. If there is a rape on a college campus and the guilty party doesn’t go to prison, the problem is with the cops and the DA.

        The administrators and Ed department people are just angry that men accused of rape get due process rights. If it were up to them these cases would all be handled by the cops and any man accused of rape would go to prison, no due process needed. They can’t make that happen. So they do the best they can by making it such that any man accused of rape is branded by the college as a rapist and kicked out of school, no due process needed.

          1. In contrast, the college disciplinary system offers survivors a shorter process and quicker remedy

            “Tee hee! Burden of proof is hard!”

            1. Not hard. “[I]mpossibly high.” Also:

              Further, for survivors on college campuses in particular, the criminal justice system’s lengthy two- to three-year pretrial process is intolerable, since it forces victims to see their rapists every day on campus ? in the library, across the quad, at parties, at breakfast ? until their cases are resolved.

              One word: transfer.

            2. n contrast, the college disciplinary system offers survivors a shorter process and quicker remedy

              Wait, there are people from the Holocaust that are just now going to college?

              1. Honestly. What is wrong with calling victims “victims”? Obviously they survived, or they’d be dead.

                1. People often blame the victim, they never blame the survivor (yet).

            3. How do we know she is a survivor if we don’t know if a rape occurred till after a legal proceeding?

              Or does the fact that the woman in question here believes she was victimized automatically make the other party a victimizer even if nothing at all actually happened?

          2. It is seriously disturbing how many people on the left want to move to a “preponderance of evidence” standard.

            It happened after Trayvon Martin, it happens in rape cases. They are less interested in justice than in getting the “right” result (as defined by them)

            1. Principals not principles. In their world, Reuben Carter got railroaded because the jury was too racist, but that sort of thing will never happen more often when the standards of proof are lowered. Really what they want is a strong ruler to dispatch swift and arbitrary justice to their whim. They just haven’t admitted to themselves that a comfortable serfdom would suit them right down to the ground.

              1. Really what they want is to be a strong ruler to dispatch swift and arbitrary justice to their whim.

                FTFY. In their dreams they’re not the ones being turned into serfs, they’re the one’s ruling.

            2. They don’t even want “preponderance of the evidence.” They want a Salem Witch Trial/The Crucible style of “justice” when one of the pure, innocent girls (who was doing keg stands and ecstasy last night) accuses Random Sophmore of rape. They truly think that the mere accusation alone should be sufficient to have you drummed out of college, thrown in a cage, and sodomized by a guy named Bubbles.

          3. “Dana Bolger is a law, jurisprudence and social thought major at Amherst College[.]”

            Social Thought major? WTFF? If I tried to put that in a parody, people would think I was over the top.

      2. Well, as you know HM, universities in the English tradition were originally founded for training clergy, and another ancient English tradition is that clergy be subject only to Ecclesiastic law, not the King’s law. This is simply a continuation of that long-standing tradition. Don’t get angry because the liberators are turning the tools of the patriarchy against their oppressors!

        1. It would be a delicious irony, then, to see these obnoxious “slutwalkers” tossed out of university due to breaching Anglican canon law on chastity.

          1. And ruin the best thing about living in a college town now that college is over for me?

    3. I’ve wondered this myself. If it’s not a crime, then then almost by definition it’s none of the government’s business. If there is a crime, then it merits a criminal investigation by people who are competent to conduct one. So why does the Department of Education have anything at all to do with a criminal investigation?

      Because you’re on a campus? So what? It’s like pretending the NHTSA has some extra-special authority to invent punishments for people who have sex in cars.

      1. Don’t give them ideas, Bryan.

  3. The way “schools should address sexual assault cases” is to referrer the complainant to the police. None of these kangaroo courts organized by ad hoc troikas of radical academics.

    1. Foolishness. We all know that the justice system is populated by agents of the patriarchy. The evidence for this is that some people charged with rape are found not guilty.

      Thus, if we try them in campus, we at least have a chance of thwarting the patriarchy.

    2. But that takes a while. And they have to look for this evidence stuff. And they act like both the accuser and the accused have stories of equal validity. And, worst of all, the criminal justice system is mean!

  4. All incident reports will be forwarded to the Ministry of Love for investigation. The guilty will be punished.

  5. “Tufts’ refusal to go along with the Office for Civil Rights may be the beginning of a backlash from universities against what some see as excessive government intervention,” The Globe notes.

    “This pile of government cash has strings attached? NOT FAIR!”

  6. Sounds like the girl lied about some medical condition, and the guy then lied about being a med student, so that he could get records to prove that she was lying. I actually wouldn’t mind more juicy details…

  7. As I heard on the radio this morning, and read on Jezzi, sexual assualt of innocent young [white] womens is rampant on college campi.

    So, with colleges becoming somekind of rape camps with roving bands of australian biker gangs, WHY are women attending such hellholes in record numbers? Don’t they know they are just meat to wolves?
    http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98
    Since 1988, the number of females in postbaccalaureate programs has exceeded the number of males. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of full-time male postbaccalaureate students increased by 36 percent, compared with a 56 percent increase in the number of full-time female postbaccalaureate students. Among part-time postbaccalaureate students, the number of males increased by 14 percent and the number of females increased by 20 percent.

  8. They are going to address the fact that sexual assault charges are overwhelmingly brought against male students, right?

    Fair is fair.

    1. I’m seeing some serious DISPARATE IMPACT here!

      1. But snark, don’t you see, if white males are disproportionately accused of rape, it’s because they’re disproportionately rapists, but if black males are disproportionately accused of drug offenses, it’s because of racism, or if women are disproportionately favored in divorces, it’s for tha childrenz

        1. And if women are disproportionately interested in playing sports it’s a TITLE IX catastrophe rooted in patriarchy.

  9. As I heard on the radio this morning, and read on Jezzi, sexual assualt of innocent young [white] womens is rampant on college campi.

    So, with colleges becoming somekind of rape camps with roving bands of australian biker gangs, WHY are women attending such hellholes in record numbers? Don’t they know they are just meat to wolves?
    http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=98
    Since 1988, the number of females in postbaccalaureate programs has exceeded the number of males. Between 2001 and 2011, the number of full-time male postbaccalaureate students increased by 36 percent, compared with a 56 percent increase in the number of full-time female postbaccalaureate students. Among part-time postbaccalaureate students, the number of males increased by 14 percent and the number of females increased by 20 percent.

  10. Specifically, it faulted Tufts for waiting six months to launch an investigation into the student’s assault complaints, not issuing a decision for another 12 months, and allowing potentially prejudicial information in the disciplinary case.

    The DoE is gonna go batshit crazy over the FSU handling of the Jameis Winston sexual assault accusation.

    1. On it.

      The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating whether FSU violated Title IX in its handling of the Winston case, and Maryanski wrote in her letter “the university is cooperating fully with the review … an important fact that was omitted from the story.”

    2. Part of the problem here is that colleges have convinced students to deal with things on campus. If the victim had gone to the regular cops, I’m sure they could have violated the suspect’s rights started an investigation within 24 hours.

      1. They did, in this case, go to the cops. And the detective assigned to investigate just happened to work security for the FSU sports boosters on the side. Whatever the truth about how willing the sex was, TPD shat the bed on the investigation.

        1. Sorry I was thinking of the Tufts case here.

          1. Sorry, had FSU on the brain.

        2. This.

          I don’t know that in the Winston case it was rape but I do know that the cops completely fucked up the investigation to the point where rape could never be proved or disproved and I suspect 2 or 3 years from now there will be a footnote in the local newspapers about the cops settling a civil rights suit with the girl for a few million

  11. Universities would be facing problems re sex even if they weren’t fanatically PC. Or, rather, if they weren’t fanatically PC they’d at least be thinking about reinstating the old rules limiting opportunities for hanky-panky.

    And if female-only institutions are OK, why not male-only.

    Of course, if you’re taking classes online, you’ll have to fulfill your social needs elsewhere.

    1. There are still a few male-only institutions.

  12. Damn, this is dumb. This isn’t cheating or plagiarism. Actual crimes like rape should be investigated by actual law enforcement, not some committee of academics.

  13. The whole meta-context is fucked up. We have this bizarre system where if you take one federal dollar, then the government gets to tell you how to run rape investigations to deny due process, and that’s considered a perfectly reasonable position to have by the chattreing classes.

    But if you suggested that taking one federal dollar meant schools would have to adhere to the precedents set by the First, and especially the Second, Amendments, those same chattering classes would look at you as though you were some sort of freak.

  14. *The accused student was also put on probation for having misrepresented himself as a Tufts medical student to obtain confidential medical information about his accuser.*

    Wow, nice security for your patient records there, Tuft University!

    “Oh, you’re a med student? Okay, here’s the login and password for the network and the login and password for the EHR system. I’ll be in the parking lot sucking down a couple Marlboros and a diet coke, then taking a nap…have fun!”

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