University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Department of Education OCR Title IX Investigation of Buffalo State College ED-NY-0020
Docket / Court 02-15-2085 ( No Court )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Education
Special Collection Title IX, Sexual Violence Investigations/Resolutions
Case Summary
In February 2015, a student at the State University of New York -- Buffalo State College filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, New York Office for Civil Rights (OCR) alleging violations of Title IX. The student alleged that Buffalo State failed to respond promptly and equitably ... read more >
In February 2015, a student at the State University of New York -- Buffalo State College filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, New York Office for Civil Rights (OCR) alleging violations of Title IX. The student alleged that Buffalo State failed to respond promptly and equitably to her report of sexual assault, thereby subjecting her to a sexually hostile environment. Specifically, she asserted that the College failed to provide her with an explanation of its Title IX grievance procedures; failed to provide her with the interim remedial measures she requested; failed to conduct any investigation or otherwise respond to her report of sexual assault; and violated her confidentiality when an athletic coach disclosed her reported assault to her teammates and the alleged perpetrator’s coach. Because of the College’s alleged failures, the student withdrew from the institution.

On March 26, 2015, OCR announced that it was opening an investigation into Buffalo State. As a part of the investigation, OCR reviewed relevant institutional documents and interviewed College personnel. On November 2, 2017, OCR announced its findings that the College violated Title IX in several ways. Specifically, OCR found that the College had failed to respond promptly and equitably to complainant’s sexual assault allegations, failed to appropriately train staff, and failed to provide the complainant with a written copy of the Title IX grievance procedure. However, the OCR did not find sufficient evidence to support a finding that the College breached confidentiality.

To resolve the complaint, Buffalo State College and OCR entered into a resolution agreement in October 2017 whereby the College agreed to submit to ongoing monitoring by the OCR until the agency determined that there had been substantial compliance. As a part of this agreement, the College agreed to pay all of the complainant’s Spring 2015 college expenses, reimburse her for any counseling expenses, investigate the complainant’s sexual assault allegations, require the Title IX coordinator to undergo training by a paid consultant, retain a qualified individual to provide mandatory Title IX training to faculty and staff, and provide ongoing documentation to OCR demonstrating that the college responded to any new Title IX complaints promptly and equitably. The reporting requirement was set to extend through at least July 2019.

Upon completion of the obligations, the OCR will close and dismiss the case. As of November 2018, implementation of the agreement is ongoing.

Hope Brinn - 11/22/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
College/University
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Confidentiality
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) State University of New York -- Buffalo State College
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff was an undergraduate student-athlete at State University of New York -- Buffalo State College who was the victim of sexual assault.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Order Duration 2017 - 2019
Filing Year 2015
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Chronicle of Higher Education, Title IX Tracker: Buffalo State College
Chronicle of Higher Education
Date: Nov. 18, 2018
By: Chronicle of Higher Education
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
[Notification letter for SUNY Buffalo State College]
ED-NY-0020-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/26/2015
[Notification letters and data request for SUNY Buffalo State College]
ED-NY-0020-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/26/2015
[Notification letter and data request for SUNY Buffalo State College]
ED-NY-0020-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/07/2015

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