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Case Name Department of Education OCR Investigation of City University of New York Hunter College ED-NY-0021
Docket / Court 02-13-2052 ( No Court )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Education
Special Collection Title IX, Sexual Violence Investigations/Resolutions
Case Summary
On December 19, 2012, a student at City University of New York, Hunter College filed a complaint with the US Department of Education, New York Office for Civil Rights (OCR) alleging that her biology professor sexually harassed her on two separate occasions. In addition, the complainant asserted ... read more >
On December 19, 2012, a student at City University of New York, Hunter College filed a complaint with the US Department of Education, New York Office for Civil Rights (OCR) alleging that her biology professor sexually harassed her on two separate occasions. In addition, the complainant asserted that Hunter College retaliated against her for reporting the sexual harassment by preventing her from registering for classes and failing to modify payment terms for outstanding tuition. On February 8, 2013, OCR announced that it was opening an investigation into the allegations.

On October 21, 2016, OCR published that CUNY’s grievance procedure did not comply with Title IX. With respect to the complainant, OCR determined that the College's response was neither prompt nor equitable. Hunter College took four months to complete the investigation into the complainant's allegations and did not provide her with an outcome until seven months after she filed the complaint (though it immediately provided notice of the outcome to the accused professor). Furthermore, OCR determined that the College failed to investigate whether the complainant had experienced a hostile environment as a result of the professor’s conduct. However, OCR found that there was insufficient evidence to support that Hunter College retaliated against the complainant since the alleged adverse actions took place before the complainant had engaged in any protected activity under Title IX.

In addition to reviewing the complainant’s case file, OCR also reviewed twelve other investigative files from the prior two academic years. In its review, OCR identified a number of Title IX concerns and violations. For instance, in one case, the Hunter College failed to provide a prompt and equitable investigation. In five cases, the College failed to complete the investigation and thus provided no resolution at all.

Hunter College did not execute a resolution agreement within the ninety-day negotiation period following OCR’s announcement that the school was in violation of Title IX. On the tenth day of the ten-day period following OCR’s notification of impasse, college officials agreed to enter into a resolution agreement on October 27, 2016. As a part of the agreement, the College agreed to:
  • Update all relevant documents to include the correct contact information for the Title IX Coordinator;

  • Revise its notice of nondiscrimination to state that inquiries related to Title IX can be directed to the Title IX Coordinator or OCR’s Assistant Secretary;

  • Revise its grievance procedures to conform with Title IX;

  • Issue a memorandum to all responsible employees informing them how to respond to any sexual misconduct;

  • Train all responsible employees on their duties and the College’s revised policies;

  • Establish a committee comprised of students, faculty, and staff who provide feedback on the school’s Title IX policies;

  • Train students on the school’s sexual misconduct policy;

  • Conduct a bi-annual climate survey containing questions related to students’ knowledge of and experience with sex discrimination issues;
  • Create a process for responding to sexual misconduct that occurs in students’ internship placements, including a process to place students with a new host facility;

  • Assess whether the complainant was subjected to a hostile environment and provide redress as appropriate;

  • Assess whether the other twelve cases reviewed by OCR subjected other complainants to hostile environments and provide redress as appropriate;

  • Submit all new sexual misconduct complaints to OCR by June 1 each year through June 2020; and

  • Submit to ongoing monitoring by OCR.


  • OCR will oversee compliance with the resolution agreement until at least June 2020.

    Hope Brinn - 12/24/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Training
Defendant-type
College/University
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
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) City University of New York, Hunter College
Plaintiff Description A student at City University of New York, Hunter College who alleged that she had been sexually harassed by her professor.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2016 - 2020
Filing Year 2013
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Chronicle of Higher Education, Title IX Tracker: City University of New York Hunter College
Chronicle of Higher Education
Date: Dec. 24, 2018
By: Chronicle of Higher Education
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
[Notification letter for City University of New York Hunter College]
ED-NY-0021-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/08/2013
[Notification letter and data request for City University of New York Hunter College]
ED-NY-0021-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/08/2013
[Hunter College Letter of Findings]
ED-NY-0021-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2016
Resolution Agreement
ED-NY-0021-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/31/2016
[Notification letter for City University of New York Hunter College]
ED-NY-0021-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2017
[Notification letter and data request for City University of New York Hunter College]
ED-NY-0021-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2017
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Plaintiff's Lawyers Blanchard, Timothy C.J. (New York) show/hide docs
ED-NY-0021-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Schaffer, Frederick P. (New York) show/hide docs
ED-NY-0021-0002

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