University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Department of Education OCR Title IX Investigation of Virginia Commonwealth University ED-VA-0006
Docket / Court 11-11-2031 ( No Court )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On December 3, 2010, a complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) against the university on behalf of a current student who had filed a complaint with the university after she was sexually assaulted by a male student. The complaint alleged that the ... read more >
On December 3, 2010, a complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) against the university on behalf of a current student who had filed a complaint with the university after she was sexually assaulted by a male student. The complaint alleged that the university's sexual misconduct policies and procedures were discriminatory on the basis of sex. The university held a hearing, and the panel at the hearing ruled against the complainant. Following the hearing, the university refused to provide the student information as to how it reached its decision and did not allow her to appeal its decision. The student also requested documents that had been used in the hearing process, and was told that the documents had been shredded. The complaint also alleged that the student was discriminated against on the basis of race and age.

In an interview with the student on January 13, 2011, the complainant told OCR that she intended for sex discrimination and race discrimination to be included as bases for her complaint, but that she no longer wished for age discrimination to be included as a basis for her complaint. On February 9, 2011, OCR dismissed the allegation of racial discrimination because there was not enough information to suggest that racial discrimination had occurred, only that most of the panel members were of the same race as the accused student. OCR also determined that it did not have jurisdiction to review the university's decision in the student's individual hearing because the alleged assault took place in a location not owned by the university during an activity not sponsored by the university. OCR determined that it did have jurisdiction to determine whether the university's sexual misconduct and sexual harassment policies complied with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and opened an investigation into this allegation.

On September 29, 2011, the university entered into a voluntary Resolution Agreement. The university was required to update its Student Sexual Misconduct Policy and its University Guidelines on Prohibition of Sexual Harassment. The updates were to specify that both the accuser and the accused may appeal a decision of the University Hearing Board, the university must maintain documentation and records from all complaints and proceedings, the University Hearing Board should resolve all complaints using a "preponderance of evidence" standard of proof, all parties should be notified in writing of the outcome of all appeals, and the university would take reasonable steps to prevent any recurrence of discrimination. The university agreed to ongoing monitoring by OCR until it had fully complied with the terms of the agreement and was in compliance with the regulation implementing Title IX.

Elizabeth Heise - 12/01/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Defendant-type
College/University
Discrimination-basis
Age discrimination
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Records Disclosure
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Race, unspecified
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. ยงยง 1681 et seq.
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Virginia Commonwealth University
Plaintiff Description a university student who alleged that the university had discriminated against her after a male student sexually assaulted her
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Unknown
Prevailing Party Mixed
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2011 - n/a
Filing Year 2010
Case Ongoing Yes
Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
No documents currently in the collection

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