WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 29: U.S Vice President Joe Biden speaks during an event on protecting students from sexual assault at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building April 29, 2014 in Washington, DC. During the event, Biden announced the release of the first report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S Vice President Joe Biden at an event on Tuesday announced the release of the first report of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.
(Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

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—Occidental College

CA—University of California-Berkeley

CA—University of Southern California

CO—Regis University

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

GA—Emory University

HI—University of Hawaii at Manoa

ID—University of Idaho

IL—Knox College

IL—University of Chicago

IN—Indiana University-Bloomington

IN—Vincennes University

MA—Amherst College

MA—Boston University

MA—Emerson College

MA—Harvard College

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—Guilford College

NC—University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

ND—Minot State University

NH—Dartmouth College

NJ—Princeton University

NY—Cuny Hunter College

NY—Hobart and William Smith Colleges

NY—Sarah Lawrence College

NY—Suny at Binghamton

OH—Denison University

OH—Ohio State University

OH—Wittenberg University

OK—Oklahoma State University

PA—Carnegie Mellon University

PA—Franklin and Marshall College

PA—Pennsylvania State University

PA—Swarthmore College

PA—Temple University

TN—Vanderbilt 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—Bethany College

WV—West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine