Barnard College Now Under Title IX Investigation

Barnard College has been added to the list of colleges and universities that are currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for possible violations to the Title IX equity law.

The liberal arts women’s college joins 94 other institutions and encompasses one of the 97 open cases currently under investigation for allegedly mishandling reported cases of sexual violence on campus and in turn the civil rights of the victims.

Flags were raised by 23 students of Barnard and Columbia when they came forward after allegedly experiencing an improper response from administrators to reported cases of sexual assault and harassment on campus as well as cases involving disabled students.

The investigation into Barnard College was opened by the Office for Civil Rights on December 29, 2014 and is separate from the investigation underway at their affiliate college, Columbia University. It is said to focus on only one case with the others being investigated on Columbia’s end.

The Office for Civil Rights has yet to release a statement about the investigation into Barnard’s handling of sexual assault cases, according to The Huffington Post.

Amy Zavadil, associate dean for equity and Title IX at Barnard College, said in a statement to HuffPost, “Barnard does not tolerate violence or discrimination of any kind, and we are deeply committed to maintaining a campus environment that is safe for every member of our community. Senior administrators are carefully reviewing the OCR inquiry and will respond in accordance with applicable law, and in a manner consistent with our own core values as an institution. As this is an ongoing matter, it would be premature to comment any further at this time.”

Title IX violations have come to the forefront of education conversations over the last year or so as a response to the rising numbers of sexual assaults on college campuses. These rising rates and emerging reports of cases being mishandled have spurred the U.S. Department of Education into action to ensure that all educational institutions are complying with the regulations in place under the law.

The law disallows any school to subject any student to discrimination based upon the sex of the student reporter and views any instances of such behavior as a civil rights violation. The Title IX law also encompasses various forms of sexual assault, abuse and harassment with specific requirements that must be followed by colleges when it comes to reporting, recording and following through with reasonable consequences for the accused if found guilty.

State University of New York school, Purchase College, was also added to the list of schools under Title IX investigations and becomes the third school in the state to go under review. SUNY Purchase administrators have yet to release a statement as they claim the Office for Civil Rights has yet to notify them of an investigation.

If Barnard College is found to be in violation of Title IX laws, they will be required to change their current policies and procedures when it comes to cases of sexual assault. Some institutions are even required to refund the tuition of students whose cases were founded to be handled poorly.

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