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Office for Civil Rights to Investigate Title IX Claim by Brandeis Student Accused of Sexual Misconduct

Torch readers won’t be surprised to hear that the list of colleges and universities under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for possible Title IX violations is still growing. The list included 55 institutions in May and now nears 80 schools. What’s newsworthy this week, though, is that OCR is now investigating Brandeis University after a student who was found responsible for sexual assault claimed that he was denied a fair hearing. This investigation stands in contrast to the many cases initiated by students who argue that their universities failed to properly respond to their claims that they were victims of sexual assault.

Brandeis University’s student newspaper the Justice has more details:

The accused student was interviewed for previous Justice articles, saying that the University ignored several claims that he made during the process, as well as lists of witnesses that he provided to testify on his behalf. “I was found responsible for these instances with little regard for any fairness during the process,” the accused student told the Justice in a June 24 article.

According to a letter from the Department of Education obtained by the Justice, the main components of the accused student’s complaint against Brandeis include the University’s failure to address a complaint of sexual assault that the accused student also filed against [the complainant]; the accused student’s allegations that he was wrongly disciplined due to this mishandling and his allegation that the University failed to equitably consider his counter-allegations.

OCR’s investigation could signal a new recognition that accused students’ due process rights cannot be sacrificed in order to achieve a certain result in sexual misconduct cases.

FIRE will watch closely and provide updates here on The Torch.

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