University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name University of Montana-Missoula ED-MT-0001
Docket / Court DJ 169-44-9, OCR 10126001 ( No Court )
State/Territory Montana
Case Type(s) Education
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On May 1, 2012, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Educational Opportunities Section ("Division") launched a formal investigation and compliance review of the University's response to sexual assault and harassment over the proceeding three-year period. (The Division ... read more >
On May 1, 2012, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Educational Opportunities Section ("Division") launched a formal investigation and compliance review of the University's response to sexual assault and harassment over the proceeding three-year period. (The Division also launched a companion investigation of the University's Office of Public Safety and simultaneous investigations of the City of Missoula Police Department and Missoula County Attorney's Office. These are linked as related cases, below.)

On May 4, 2012, the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights ("OCR") opened a Title IX compliance review to assess whether the University's policies and procedures and the University's implementation of such policies and procedures ensured the elimination of sexual harassment and sexual violence, appropriately responded to such harassment and violence, prevented future harassment, and eliminated the hostile environment and its effects that result from such harassment.

The DOJ and OCR conducted the investigation and review under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"). The DOJ also conducted its investigation under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title IV"). The United States combined the Title IV and Title IX investigations and compliance reviews of the University.

On May 9, 2013, the DOJ and the OCR released a findings letter identifying problems with the University's policies prohibiting sexual harassment and sexual assault, grievance procedures, response to allegations and instances of retaliation, and Title IX coordinator training, and finding that the University had not fully eliminated the hostile educational environment based on sex and that the University's notice of nondiscrimination did not fully meet Title IX regulations' requirements.

Also on May 9, 2013, the University, the DOJ, and the OCR executed an agreement resolving the investigation and compliance reviews. The agreement details specific steps the University will take to revise its policies, procedures and investigative practices to provide a grievance procedure that ensures prompt and equitable resolution of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations; adequately investigate and respond to allegations of retaliation by students who have alleged sexual assault; take sufficient effective action to fully eliminate a hostile environment based on sex, prevent its recurrence and address its effects; ensure that the individuals designated to coordinate its Title IX efforts receive adequate training and coordinate these efforts effectively; and revise the University's notice of nondiscrimination to adequately inform students that sex discrimination is prohibited.

The Agreement remains in force for at least three academic years; puts in place various reporting duties; and will not terminate until at least 60 days after the United States has received all of the reporting required through the first semester of the 2015-2016 school year.

The University agreed to retain within thirty days and pay all the fees and costs of an equity consultant with expertise in the area of sex-based harassment prevention and training in higher education to evaluate and recommend revisions to the University's policies, procedures, and practices for preventing, investigating, and remediating sex-based harassment, as required by the Agreement; develop and provide the mandatory Title IX training required by the Agreement; and develop one or more annual climate surveys in consultation with the University, as required by the Agreement, and make recommendations to the University regarding its sex-based harassment policies, procedures, and practices based on the surveys.

As of May 3, 2014, the United States continues to monitor the implementation of the Agreement and will do so until it determines that the University has fulfilled the Agreement's requirements and is in compliance with Title IV, Title IX, and the implementing regulations that were at issue in this case.

Heather Turner - 05/03/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Goals and Timekeeping
Monitoring
Reporting
Defendant-type
College/University
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Record-keeping
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) University of Montana-Missoula
Plaintiff Description The U.S. DOJ, investigating, seeking to determine whether gender discrimination affected the prevention, investigation and prosecution of sexual assaults and sexual harassment in Missoula.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2013 - n/a
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing PN-MT-0001 : DOJ Investigation of University of Montana-Missoula's Office of Public Safety (No Court)
CJ-MT-0003 : DOJ Investigation of Missoula County Attorney’s Office (D. Mont.)
PN-MT-0002 : DOJ Investigation of Missoula Police Department (No Court)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town
Written: Apr. 21, 2015
By: Jon Krakauer
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Links Dear Colleague Letter: Athletic Activities Counted for Title IX Compliance
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html
Posted: Sep. 17, 2008
By: United States Department of Education—Office of Civil Rights (U.S. Department of Justice)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Untitled 05/09/2013
ED-MT-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. DOJ, Civil Rights Division, Education Section
Resolution Agreement 05/09/2013
ED-MT-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: U.S. DOJ, Civil Rights Division, Education Section
Judges None on record
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bhargava, Anurima (District of Columbia)
ED-MT-0001-0001 | ED-MT-0001-0002
Defendant's Lawyers None on record
Other Lawyers None on record

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