TITLE IX VIOLATIONS: SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG
December 11, 2014
Federal Investigators today found Southern Methodist University in violation of Title IX by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights(OCR) for “failing to promptly and equitably” respond to reports of sexual assault, harassment and retaliation. http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/2014/12/smu-found-in-violation-of-title-ix-agrees-to-resolution-with-u-s-department-of-education.html/
What is Title IX?
Title IX is Federal law prohibits gender-based discrimination, including sexual violence and harassment on college campuses. It requires universities to investigate all sex crimes and to have an internal grievance procedure to handle sexual assault reports. Universities that receive federal funds must comply with Title IX. If they are found in violation, they could lose their federal funding.
As reported by the Dallas Morning News, SMU has reached a “voluntary resolution agreement” with OCR . SMU in a press statement stated, “Although we take issue with some of OCR’s conclusions and generalizations, we look forward to taking additional actions as outlined. The well-being of our students is our highest priority.”
The increased scrutiny on sexual violence on campuses is largely in response to a White House Report published earlier this year that found that one in five female college students in the United States has been sexually assaulted. https://www.notalone.gov/
Subsequently, the Department of Education released the names of colleges and universities that are under investigation for their handling of sexual assault complaints. It was the first time a comprehensive list of colleges under investigation for potential violations of federal antidiscrimination law under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The list included Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
This voluntary resolution from SMU is just the tip of the iceberg of changes that must be demanded to protect students from sexual assault and sexual abuse.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault at a college or university, you should report this crime to local law enforcement immediately. Title IX affords legal rights and remedies to victims of sexual violence.
The Law Office of Tahira Khan Merritt stands ready to help you with your legal needs. We have exclusively represented victims of sex crimes in civil cases against institutions that have aided and abetted perpetrators such as, churches, schools, universities and colleges, daycare centers, youth camps, scouting organizations, military schools and the like since 1996. You may confidentially contact our office at 214-503-7300 or through our website : http://tkmlawfirm.com/.