But it’s also been a hypocrisy.” In Massachusetts, seven different colleges faced a total of 11 investigations between 20.Two of those investigations were dismissed because too much time had passed between when the alleged violations occurred and when they were reported to the Education Department.
In four cases, the colleges reached a resolution agreement with the department during or after the investigation.Ten Massachusetts schools are facing investigations: Amherst College; Berklee College of Music; Boston University; Brandeis University; Emerson College; Hampshire College; Harvard University; Northeastern University; the University of Massachusetts Amherst; and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.The data the Globe reviewed were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Boston-based public records website Muck Rock, and subsequently analyzed by the Globe.The data included cases that were resolved as of the end of last year.The most common reason cases at colleges across the country were closed was that too much time had passed between when the alleged violations occurred and when they were reported to the Education Department, which generally does not investigate allegations more than 180 calendar days old.Denise Horn, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, said officials are “working aggressively to ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn in a safe and healthy environment.”“Let there be no mistake: Sexual violence has no place in society and especially no place in our nation’s schools or on our nation’s college campuses,” she said in an e-mail.
Advertisement Sexual violence cases are governed by Title IX, a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in any federally funded education program or activity.
It requires colleges to address sexual violence on campus, including following proper steps to investigate claims of assault.“Title IX is one of the few options you have to hold your school accountable,” said Pino, 23, who said she was raped while a student at the University of North Carolina.
“It’s been a cornerstone of the activism movement in the past several years.
Colby Bruno, an attorney at the Victim Rights Law Center in Boston, a nonprofit that gives free legal services to sexual assault victims, said she was surprised by the findings from the Globe’s review.“If a quarter of complainants are not able to report that their school has problems because of what seems to be an arbitrary deadline, then maybe we should look at a way to change that,” said Bruno, referring to the Education Department’s 180-day deadline for filing complaints.
Bruno said she expects to see a decline in the percentage of cases dropped due to administrative reasons or other apparent technicalities because in recent years an increasing number of students have turned to lawyers, often on a pro bono basis, to help them file Title IX complaints.“I have every expectation that all of the open cases will reach agreements, where there are violations,” she said.
The Education Department has said its investigations have found that some colleges have retaliated against victims of sexual assault for filing reports with the department and delayed investigations.