Uncategorized | 5:03 pm | May 24, 2011 | By Jordi Gassó

OCR solicits information on University’s sexual grievance policy (UPDATED)

UPDATED: 11:08 p.m. In an e-mail to the Yale community, Yale College Dean Mary Miller announced that the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is now soliciting information about the University’s handling of sexual misconduct cases on campus, as part of its Title IX investigation into allegations of Yale’s inadequate response.

The OCR is looking to know more about students’ knowledge of the University’s sexual grievance procedures and whether students make use of these resources. University Vice President and General Counsel Dorothy Robinson said in an e-mail Tuesday night that the OCR request seeks to obtain student opinion in light of the fact that the academic year is over and students are no longer on campus. The OCR has already conducted on-site interviews with administrators, she added.

In addition to prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex in institutions that receive federal funding, Title IX also forbids “intimidation or retaliation against any person who participates in an OCR investigation,” the e-mail said, quoting a note from the Department of Education.

“Please note that although the Freedom of Information Act requires OCR to make its records available to the public upon request, OCR will exempt from release any information that would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy, such as the identity of persons who participated in an OCR investigation,” the message explained. Robinson said the OCR has turned down her office’s FOIA petition, which called for a copy of the Title IX complaint filed by 16 Yale students and alumni that led to the opening of the government probe.

Read the full text of Miller’s e-mail below:

We are sending the following notice to you as a current student or 2011 graduate of Yale College at the request of the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education.

“As part of its investigation of a Title IX complaint, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is seeking information about Yale’s response to sexual harassment and sexual violence against Yale undergraduate students, including students’ awareness of the University’s processes and/or resources available, and whether students utilize such processes/resources. If you have any information relating to these issues that you are willing to share, please contact OCR by voicemail at (617) 289-0018, or by email at:OCRBostonTitleIX@ed.gov, by June 15, 2011.

OCR enforces Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in colleges and universities that receive Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education. Title IX requires such schools to respond to notice of potential sex discrimination, which can include sexual harassment and sexual violence. For more information about OCR and sexual harassment, you may visit: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/sexharassresources.html.

Title IX also prohibits intimidation or retaliation against any person who participates in an OCR investigation. Please note that although the Freedom of Information Act requires OCR to make its records available to the public upon request, OCR will exempt from release any information that would constitute an unwarranted invasion of privacy, such as the identity of persons who participated in an OCR investigation.

We thank you in advance for your assistance.”

U.S. Department of Education

Office for Civil Rights – Region I

5 Post Office Square

8th Floor, Suite 900

Boston, MA 02109-3921

Voicemail: 617-289-0018

Fax: 617-289-0150

Email: OCRBostonTitleIX@ed.gov

Web: www.ed.gov/ocr

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