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Title IX investigation launched

Student accuses College of Title IX violation

Mariah Joyce
Editor in Chief

The College of Wooster is currently being investigated for an alleged Title IX violation.

The College appears on the Department of Education’s (D.O.E.) list of 212 postsecondary institutions that have pending Title IX sexual assault investigations. The investigations are carried out by the D.O.E.’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

According to the list, the investigation of Wooster was opened on Sept. 2, 2016. D.O.E. spokesman Alberto Betancourt confirmed that the College was under investigation and said the list includes both investigations opened because of complaints and investigations initiated by the D.O.E. as compliance reviews. However, Betancourt could not comment further on the case, as the investigation is ongoing.

On Monday, Sept. 26, President Sarah Bolton sent an email to the campus announcing the investigation, following a request for comment by Voice staff.

In her email, Bolton informed the campus of the investigation’s existence and said that the College has been told by the OCR that the investigation is in response to an allegation by a student that “the College did not respond as equitably and promptly as it should have to reports of sexual assault last year” but that at the time she has no further information.

Bolton emphasized that the College’s work to improve responses to sexual assault on the campus is crucial and ongoing.

Bolton told the Voice that the OCR’s current communications with the College do not give specifics of the complaint which, as she understands it, is standard procedure.

Bolton added that although the College’s desire to improve responses to Title IX complaints preceded the OCR’s investigation, the investigation might help the College learn where it can improve. “We anticipate that our discussions with OCR will provide additional guidance on how best we can reduce the harm caused by sexual violence at Wooster, both through effective prevention and through best practices in response,” said Bolton. “This work is crucial, as the safety of our students is the highest priority.”

A notable component of the Title IX efforts underway is the search for a full-time Title IX coordinator for the College. Bolton’s email stated that the search has begun to fill the new position — referred to in a Sept. 13 job posting as Title IX coordinator and director of sexual violence prevention and response — and said that the coordinator “will be responsible for ensuring that our prevention, awareness, support and response programs meet national best practices and serve Wooster students well.

Once the investigation is concluded, the D.O.E. will disclose whether it entered into an agreement with the institution to address the complaint or whether there was insufficient evidence of a Title IX violation.

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