Univ. under two new Title IX investigations
The University was notified that it is being investigated for a Title IX complaint on March 1. Judy Glasser, Interim Senior Vice President for Communications, confirmed, in an email to the Justice on March 15, that the University has received notification. The accuser brought charges against the alleged assailant to the University last year through the Special Examiner’s Process, and the University’s internal investigation ruled in favor of the accuser, but the ruling was overturned during the appeals process.
The University says it will cooperate fully in the investigation but claims no wrongdoing in its internal investigation: “We are confident that we are in compliance with all requirements of Title IX, and have policies and procedures in place to promptly and equitably investigate and adjudicate allegations of sexual misconduct affecting the Brandeis community,” wrote Glasser in an email to the Justice. She said that the University would not be able to comment on the specifics of the case.
In an interview with the Justice, the accuser (who was given anonymity for this article) said that in filing the Title IX complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education, they provided a number of examples about “the ways in which Brandeis did not uphold their legal responsibility to Title IX.”
The accuser said that the major concern that they brought up is the level of accountability that the University holds itself to in repealing the decision. “One major concern that I have and something that I wrote about in my complaint is that the special appeals process has no accountability,” they said in an interview with the Justice. “Their appeals process is like a rubber stamp that they can use to reverse any decision.” The accuser said that the initial decision they received about the case was more than 30 pages long, while the appellate decision — which overturned the original decision — is less than two pages.
But the accuser was also concerned about the initial investigation that ruled in their favor — a process that they call “horrifying.”
“The administration mishandled essentially every aspect of the process from the no contact order to the actual procedural elements of the process. There was just a real dearth of competence in the administration in respect for the law and what I was entitled to,” they said.
The accuser also called attention to the fact that the University has not publicly said anything about the investigation: “The fact that they haven’t notified students is pure negligence, I would say, willful negligence.”
A Sept. 29 2014 Justice article notes that the University released a statement regarding a past Title IX filing against the school on its website and a statement was provided by then-Executive Director of Integrated Media Bill Schaller when Brandeis was added to the United States Department of Education’s list of 75 Universities and Colleges under Investigation for Title IX at that time. These statements are no longer available online. The case that earned the University a place on that list was issued on behalf of a student who filed a Title IX complaint during the summer of 2014 after they were found guilty of sexual misconduct in the Special Examiner’s process. The University was notified of that case’s complaint on Sept. 2 2014.
Title IX is part of the United States Education Amendments of 1972 and states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. ” The Department of Education’s April 4, 2011 “Dear Colleague Letter” explicitly includes sexual assault as part of Title IX.
The Chronicle of Higher Education lists two Title IX cases as being brought before the University on March 1. The Justice is continuing to investigate on this case. A Title IX case against the University, filed in April 2015, is still on the docket, pending a verdict. Dean of Students Jamele Adams did not reply for comment by press time.
— Mihir Khanna contributed reporting.
A previous version of this article misquoted the accuser as saying “The fact that they haven’t notified students is pure negligence, I would say, simple negligence," in an interview with the Justice. They actually said, “The fact that they haven’t notified students is pure negligence, I would say, willful negligence."