The investigation by the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights comes in response to complaints filed late last year by six current and former female students at Vanderbilt. They claim that women on campus have been discouraged from reporting sexual violence, that university staff did not follow through with investigating incidents of sexual violence, and that there has been little education or help for victims.
Vanderbilt vice chancellor for public affairs Beth Fortune said yesterday that the university is cooperating with investigators. The university could be held accountable for violating federal laws which require universities to respond to reports of sexual assault and to accurately report crime statistics.
The Obama administration’s White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault has announced plans to reduce sexual assault on campus, which include transparency in reporting incidents of assault and developing more training programs for campus officials and police.