2 Education Dept. Picks Raise Fears on Civil Rights Enforcement

A lawyer who represented Florida State University in an explosive sexual assault case and another lawyer who during the 2016 presidential campaign accused Hillary Clinton of enabling sexual predators have been chosen for key roles in the Department of Education, raising fears that the agency could pull back from enforcing civil rights in schools and on college campuses.

President Trump will nominate Carlos G. Muñiz, a politically connected Florida lawyer who served as deputy general counsel to former Gov. Jeb Bush, to be general counsel to the Education Department. Mr. Muñiz, a lawyer and consultant based in the Jacksonville office of McGuireWoods, is perhaps best known for representing Florida State University in a lawsuit brought by a student who accused the former star quarterback Jameis Winston of raping her in 2012.

Candice E. Jackson, who represented one of the women who attended a news conference before a presidential debate in October to impugn Mrs. Clinton’s treatment of sexual assault victims, announced that she will be the acting assistant secretary for civil rights.

Full story of education department picks at the New York Times

U.S. Education Department Settles Sexual Assault Case with Minot State University, N.D.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced today that it has entered into a resolution agreement with Minot State University, North Dakota, after finding the university in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

OCR found that the university failed to process a complaint brought by a former student (Student A) who reported that during her time at the school, she had been sexually assaulted for over two years by one of her professors. Despite the serious nature of the complaint, OCR determined that Minot State did not take any steps to address the effects of the hostile environment to which the student reported she had been subjected.

“Minot State University has committed to take critically necessary steps to bring its practices, and its policies, into compliance with Title IX, correcting significant safety gaps that had persisted for too long for its students,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “I am grateful for the university’s commitment to satisfying its students’ civil rights going forward.”

Full story of the sexual assault case with Minot State University at ed.gov

Harvard Law School Found in Violation of Title IX, Agrees to Remedy Sexual Harassment, including Sexual Assault of Students

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced today that it has entered into a resolution agreement with Harvard University and its Law School after finding the Law School in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 for its response to sexual harassment, including sexual assault.

“I am very pleased to bring to close one of our longest-running sexual violence investigations, and I congratulate Harvard Law School for now committing to comply with Title IX and immediately implement steps to provide a safe learning environment for its students,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “This agreement is a credit to the strong leadership of Harvard President Drew Faust and Law School Dean Martha Minow, for which I am deeply grateful and from which I know their students will benefit significantly.”

Full story of Harvard Law and sexual assaults at ed.gov

Southern Methodist University Found in Violation of Title IX, Commits to Remedy Harassment, Sexual Assault of Students

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) announced today that it has entered into a resolution agreement with Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas after finding SMU in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 for its response to gender-based and sexual harassment, including sexual assault. The agreement requires the university to take specific steps to come into compliance with Title IX.  SMU is a private, four-year university with approximately 11,000 students.

“I appreciate Southern Methodist University’s strong commitment in this agreement to provide a safe and supportive educational environment for its students,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights. “I look forward to working with Southern Methodist University in its implementation of the agreement.”

Following its investigation, OCR determined that SMU violated Title IX by failing to promptly and equitably respond to student complaints of gender-based harassment and sexual violence, including sexual assault, and to reports of retaliatory harassment.

Full story of University and sexual harassment at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Announces Final Rule to Help Colleges Keep Campuses Safe

The Obama Administration today announced publication of the final rule implementing changes made to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) by the Violence Against Women’s Authorization Act of 2013. That law and the new rule strengthen the Clery Act to more effectively address, and ultimately reduce, sexual violence on college campuses, including, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

The Clery Act requires institutions of higher education to comply with certain campus safety- and security-related requirements as a condition of participating in the Federal student financial aid programs authorized by Title IV of the Higher Education Act.

“The Department has the responsibility to ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe environment,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “These new rules require institutions to ensure that students and employees have vital information about crime on campus and the services and protections available to victims if a crime does occur, which will be significant assets in addressing the growing problems of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking on our nation’s campuses.”

Full story of rule to keep colleges safe at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Announces Action to Help Colleges Keep Campuses Safe

The Obama Administration today announced new steps to address growing concerns about sexual violence on college campuses by requiring institutions of higher education to comply with new campus safety and security related requirements aimed at curbing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

The proposed rule, which will be formally published in tomorrow’s Federal Register, would implement changes to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 signed by President Obama in March of last year.

Full story of safe college campuses action at ed.gov

Guidance Issued on Responsibilities of Schools to Address Sexual Violence, Other Forms of Sex Discrimination

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) today released new guidance describing the responsibilities of colleges, universities and public schools to address sexual violence and other forms of sex discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

The guidelines, highlighted by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault’s new report released earlier Tuesday, provide greater clarity about the requirements of Title IX around this critical issue – as requested by institutions and students.

Full story of schools addressing sexual violence at ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education Finds Tufts University in Massachusetts in Violation of Title IX for Its Handling of Sexual Assault and Harassment Complaints

The U.S. Department of Education announced today that its Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has found that Tufts University has failed to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to address sexual assault and harassment issues.

Although Tufts had entered into an agreement to remedy its violation on April 17, the university informed OCR on April 26 that it was “revoking” the agreement. This action constitutes a breach of the agreement. Under federal civil rights regulations, OCR may move to initiate proceedings to terminate federal funding of Tufts or to enforce the agreement. The office stands ready to confer with Tufts on how to come into compliance speedily.

Full story of Tufts Universities charges at ed.gov