Several colleges across the country, including Tufts, have been the subject of federal government investigations and media attention due to their approach to handling cases of sexual misconduct. Below is a timeline that outlines how a provision of the federal law Title IX, which bans gender discrimination on campus, has impacted Tufts.
A Tufts student filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The student argued that the university discriminated against her when dealing with her sexual assault report.
Tufts hired a Title IX Coordinator after the school had been without one for two consecutive academic years.
Congress passed the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, which required that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking cases be disclosed in annual campus crime statistics.
April 17, 2014
The OCR announced that Tufts had violated Title IX because, among other things, the school had not been adequately supporting complainants during the process of investigating their sexual assault report.
April 26, 2014
Tufts “revoked” its agreement to comply with OCR recommendations for how to better the university’s sexual assault policies and practices. Tufts argued it was in compliance with federal regulations. This decision left the university vulnerable — if it had not come into compliance with the agreement or Title IX within 60 days, OCR could have withheld Tufts’ federal funding.
April 28, 2014
The White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, initiated by President Barack Obama, released a series of guidelines for how colleges and universities should handle sexual assault and harassment cases.
May 9, 2014
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon “congratulate[d]” Tufts for revising the areas of its sexual assault policy that OCR found had been in violation of Title IX. OCR is currently in the process of reviewing these changes and, if the office agrees that these changes put the university back in compliance, OCR will designate Tufts as having a “corrected noncompliance” with Title IX.
University President Anthony Monaco and a handful of Tufts’ student activists have met in a task force to review the school’s sexual assault policies. Meanwhile, OCR and Tufts continue to work together to improve areas of this policy that the federal office found problematic in their investigation.