Five higher education institutions in Massachusetts are under investigation by the federal education department for possibly violating the law around handling sexual violence and harassment complaints, officials disclosed today.
Amherst College, Boston University, Emerson College, Harvard University’s undergraduate college and its law school, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst are all being investigated for possible Title IX violations, the US Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights announced.
The department for the first time today released a complete list of all of the higher education institutions under such investigation nationwide.
A total of 55 schools in the US are under investigation, the list shows.
Some of the investigations on the list — including at Amherst, Emerson and Harvard’s undergraduate college — were known publicly before today because the department had previously confirmed institutions that were being investigated for Title IX complaints if a request was made about a certain school.
The Education Department vowed to regularly update the list going forward.
“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,” said a statement from assistant secretary for civil rights Catherine E. Lhamon.
“We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue,” she added. “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.”
The department said it will not disclose details about any cases aside from when the investigations began.
When an investigation is completed, the department will disclose, upon request, whether the schools have been found in violation and entered into an agreement to address compliance concerns or whether insufficient evidence of a violation was found.
Officials said the list released today includes institutions that are being investigated because of complaints made to the Education Department and others that are being investigated as part of a compliance review.
“As with all OCR investigations, the primary goal of a Title IX investigation is to ensure that the campus is in compliance with federal law, which demands that students are not denied the ability to participate fully in educational and other opportunities due to sex,” the department said in a press release.
The release of the list comes after a newly-established White House task force this week published its first report and a list recommendations for combating sexual assault on college campuses.
Earlier this week, the Education Department announced it found through an investigation that Tufts University violated Title IX rules. The university denied the department’s findings.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, officials said.
Colleges, universities and K-12 schools that receive federal funds are required to comply with Title IX rules. Institutions that violate the law and fail to address problems can lose their federal funding and can be referred to the US Department of Justice for further action, officials said.
Below is the full list of institutions under investigation as of May 1. Schools are listed alphabetically by state.
AZ—Arizona State University
CA—Butte-Glen Community College District
CA—University of California-Berkeley
CA—University of Southern California
CO—University of Colorado at Boulder
CO—University of Colorado at Denver
CO—University of Denver
CT—University of Connecticut
DC—Catholic University of America
FL—Florida State University
HI—University of Hawaii at Manoa
ID—University of Idaho
IL—University of Chicago
MA—Harvard University Law School
MA—University of Massachusetts-Amherst
MD—Frostburg State University
MI—Michigan State University
MI—University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
NC—University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
ND—Minot State University
NY—Cuny Hunter College
NY—Hobart and William Smith Colleges
NY—Sarah Lawrence College
NY—Suny at Binghamton
OH—Ohio State University
OK—Oklahoma State University
PA—Carnegie Mellon University
PA—Franklin and Marshall College
PA—Pennsylvania State University
TX—Southern Methodist University
TX—The University of Texas-Pan American
VA—College of William and Mary
VA—University of Virginia
WA—Washington State University
WI—University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
WV—West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine