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UCLA under investigation for possible Title IX violations

By Daily Bruin

Aug. 13, 2014 1:09 p.m.

The original version of this article contained information that was unclear and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for more information.

This post was updated on Aug. 13 at 6:54 p.m.

UCLA was added to a list of colleges and universities under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education Wednesday for possible federal violations in its handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.

Seventy-six colleges and universities are currently under federal investigation for possible Title IX violations, up from the 55 universities the department announced it was investigating in May. Title IX is a federal provision that protects students from sex-based discrimination at educational institutions that receive federal funds.

Tod Tamberg, a UCLA spokesman, said in an email statement that UCLA plans to work with the Department of Education to review its practices in regards to its Title IX compliance.

“We take every complaint of sexual misconduct seriously, and offer a comprehensive range of care options for survivors,” Tamberg said in the email.

In June, a state audit found that UCLA failed to sufficiently educate its faculty and staff about handling sexual assault incidents.

Tamberg added that the Department of Education had yet to contact UCLA about the updated list. The Department of Education started the investigation on Friday.

Such investigations typically take about six months to complete, according to a department spokesman.

Undergraduate Students Association Council Student Wellness Commissioner Savannah Badalich, the head of sexual assault education campaign 7000 in Solidarity, said she and the university began collaborating on several initiatives earlier this year to ensure that the university handles cases of sexual assault and harassment correctly.

Badalich, also a member of the University of California’s sexual assault task force, said she thinks that the collaboration between UCLA, 7000 in Solidarity and the Student Wellness Commission has added more discussions about consent, sexual assault and sexual harassment at new-student orientations this summer and shows the university is already improving its education.

The UC task force was already scheduled before Friday to release recommendations next month about how UCLA should address possible Title IX violations, Badalich added. The task force will release the list at the next UC Board of Regents meeting.

An institution can be under federal investigation because of complaints received by the department’s Office for Civil Rights. The office can also initiate an investigation proactively in the form of compliance reviews even if it did not receive any complaints.

No information was immediately available as to why the investigation of UCLA began.

If a university violates Title IX, it can reach an agreement with the Department of Education to change its policies and procedures. The Department of Education can also cut off federal student aid for universities if they do not comply with Title IX regulations, though it has never done so before.

Jim Bradshaw, a Department of Education spokesman, confirmed the investigation but said it does not disclose any case-specific details about the investigation.

Compiled by Samantha Tomilowitz and Jeong Park, Bruin senior staff. Contributing reports by Amanda Schallert, Bruin senior staff.

Clarification: The state audit found that UCLA doesn’t sufficiently educate faculty and staff about sexual assault.

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