No Federal Investigation into Brown Sexual Assault Policy

May 2, 2014

Despite calls at Brown University for changes in the policy on sexual assault, Brown is not facing any investigation by the federal government.

The Federal Department of Education has released the names of 55 colleges and universities currently under investigation because of complaints about the way they handle sexual assault.

Federal officials have been pushing colleges and universities to improve their policies on sexual violence and say releasing the list is part of an effort to promote greater transparency on the issue.

The list includes several prominent New England institutions, including Harvard University, Amherst College, Boston University, Dartmouth College and the University of Connecticut.

No Rhode Island colleges are named in current investigations, but the list is likely to change as new investigations open and ongoing probes are resolved.

Federal officials say campuses on the list include those under investigation because of formal complaints lodged at the Department of Education and compliance reviews initiated by its Office for Civil Rights. An investigation does not necessarily indicate that any violation of federal law has taken place.

At Brown University, students protested recently, after a female student alleged the university mishandled her accusation of rape at the hands of a fellow student. Among her complaints, she says she was forced to wait too long for a hearing, while her alleged attacker was allowed to remain on campus.

Brown officials have promised to expedite a review of their procedures for handling sexual misconduct investigations on campus.