University under federal investigation for handling of sexual assault

The Office for Civil Rights added SF State to a list Wednesday that will include them with 104 college campuses under investigation for their handling of sexual violence.

The federal examination at SF State for a pending Title IX investigation was opened March 10, according to the OCR. Title IX is federal law that requires all public school that receive government funds to prohibit sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

The office opens an investigation into a school’s handling of sexual violence after a compliant is brought forward to the agency, according to its Complaint Processing Procedures.

News of the federal investigation at SF State comes one week after the University Police Department received a string of indecent exposure reports in Parkmerced and University Park North. The sexual battery of a woman in between Burk Hall and the Student Health Center was also reported to UPD in early February.

                                                      (List of colleges under investigation Courtesy of Office for Civil Rights)

SF State is one of 10 California colleges being investigated by the OCR, including University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University.

The OCR is responsible for addressing discrimination complaints within all public schools and educational establishments that receive funds from the U.S. Department of Education. Discrimination “on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age” are barred from schools in any form, including areas of admissions, financial aid, housing and athletics, according to the OCR website. Schools must also work to stop sexual violence and sex discrimination in schools under the Title IX policy.

The U.S. Department of Education first released the list of higher institutions under investigation for mishandling of sexual assault May 1, 2014 in response to the creation of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, which focuses on decreasing sexual assault on college campuses.

If the OCR finds that SF State has violated Title IX policy, the school must act to solve any issues identified by the agency, according to the OCR. Failing to do so could result in the loss of federal funding or a referral to the U.S. Department of Justice.

SF State officials could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

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