University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Department of Education OCR Investigation of Elmira College ED-NY-0022
Docket / Court 02-14-2316 ( No Court )
State/Territory New York
Case Type(s) Education
Special Collection Title IX, Sexual Violence Investigations/Resolutions
Case Summary
In the spring of 2014, a student at Elmira College in Elmira, New York filed a complaint with the US Department of Education, New York Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The complainant alleged that the College failed to respond promptly and equitably to her report of forcible sexual assault and thus ... read more >
In the spring of 2014, a student at Elmira College in Elmira, New York filed a complaint with the US Department of Education, New York Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The complainant alleged that the College failed to respond promptly and equitably to her report of forcible sexual assault and thus subjected her to a hostile environment in violation of Title IX.

On December 20, 2016, OCR concluded its investigation and issued its findings to the college. Although OCR determined that the college’s written grievance procedures complied with Title IX, it found that implementation of its policy violated the law. Specifically, OCR found that the school did not sufficiently publicize the Title IX Coordinator’s contact information to students, faculty, and staff. Similarly, the notice of nondiscrimination did not clearly communicate how individuals could make a complaint alleging any violations. OCR did find, though, that Elmira appropriately trained students and staff on Title IX issues including sexual harassment and sexual violence.

With respect to the complainant, OCR found that the College’s response was not prompt. Although the complainant’s mother contacted college officials to specifically assert that her daughter was sexually assaulted, the school declined to initiate sexual misconduct proceedings against the respondent and instead conducted proceedings for other rules violations. Because the College initiated its sexual misconduct investigation three months after the complainant initially made the report, the investigation was not prompt. However, OCR found that there was insufficient evidence to show that the school’s delayed response created a hostile environment for the complainant.

OCR also analyzed a number of other students’ files who had made sexual assault allegations. In the three school years OCR investigated, it found concerns or violations in fifteen out of the sixteen files.

In order to resolve the violations, Elmira College entered into a resolution with OCR on December 14, 2016. As a part of the resolution agreement, the College was required to:
  • Update all literature to include accurate contact info for the Title IX Coordinator;

  • Update its nondiscrimination statement to include a prohibition of sex discrimination in addition to or instead of its current policy barring only gender discrimination;

  • Update the grievance procedure to clarify that the College need not have any special “authority” over an alleged perpetrator in order to investigate a complaint of sex discrimination;
  • Provide mandatory Title IX training to students, faculty, and staff;

  • Create a Title IX Committee that includes students, faculty, and staff who recommend strategies for improving Elmira’s prevention of and response to sexual misconduct;

  • Conduct an annual campus climate survey that asks specific questions about sex discrimination;

  • Develop a memorandum of understanding with the local police regarding response to sexual assault;

  • Submit to ongoing monitoring;

  • Review complaints with concerns or violations and determine if any redress is appropriate; and
  • Conduct a review of the complainant’s report and investigation and revise it appropriately. Depending on the outcome of the review, the College may have to reimburse complainant for medical expenses, tuition, and other related fees.

  • OCR will oversee compliance with this agreement until at least July 2019.

    Hope Brinn - 12/23/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Affected Gender
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Sex discrimination
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Type of Facility
Non-government non-profit
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) Elmira College
Plaintiff Description A student attending Elmira College when she alleged she was sexually assaulted.
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se Unknown
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2016 - 2019
Filed 2014
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Chronicle of Higher Education, Title IX Tracker: Elmira College
Chronicle of Higher Education
Date: Nov. 29, 2018
By: Chronicle of Higher Education
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
not recorded
[Notification letters and data request for Elmira College]
ED-NY-0022-0003.pdf | Detail
not recorded
[Notification letter for Elmira College]
ED-NY-0022-0004.pdf | Detail
not recorded
Resolution Agreement
ED-NY-0022-0001.pdf | Detail
not recorded
[Elmira College Letter of Findings]
ED-NY-0022-0002.pdf | Detail
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Plaintiff's Lawyers Blanchard, Timothy C.J. (New York) show/hide docs

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