Brandeis University in Waltham is the latest college to come under scrutiny by the United States Education Department for the handling of sexual assault complaints involving its students. The university is the 10th school in Massachusetts and one of more than 75 in the country to be investigated by the U.S. Dept. of Education according to WCVB.
According to reports (initially published by The Boston Globe), the investigation is centered on a student's allegation that the school wrongly and unfairly found him responsible for sexual misconduct this past spring and subsequently disciplined him.
While Brandeis spokesman Bill Schaller did not comment directly about that particular investigation, he acknowledged that the school had already taken initiatives to prevent and respond to sexual assault complaints, including opening a rape crisis center, hiring a psychological counselor who specializes in trauma and sexual violence, and relocating its office of sexual assault services and prevention to a more central location on campus. According to WCVB, the university conducted bystander-intervention training for students and created an informational website and distributed resource guides to students, faculty, and staff to increase awareness of sexual assault services and prevention efforts.
This past May the Department of Education began an investigation of 55 campuses for complaints that they possibly violated rules governing the handling of sexual violence and harassment cases. Included in that list are Amherst College, Boston University, Emerson College, Harvard College, Harvard Law School, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Berklee College of Music, Hampshire College, UMass Dartmouth, and Brandeis University.