The Department of Justice today announced a agreement with Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in Cleveland, Ohio, to resolve a federal investigation under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 into the university’s response to complaints of sexual harassment among students and among employees. Under the terms of the agreement, the CWRU will undertake campus-wide reforms so that students can attend school and participate in Greek Life programs free from gender discrimination, including sexual assault, sexual harassment and retaliation. in the event of a complaint of sexual discrimination.
“All students should be able to participate in university life without being victims of gender discrimination. Far too often, college and university students across our nation face harassment, harassment or sexual assault,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “When gender discrimination emerges, universities must respond appropriately to end the misconduct and provide support so that the student can safely participate in school activities and complete their studies. This agreement would not have been possible without the many surviving students, current and former, who came forward and courageously shared their stories. We hope this agreement sends a message to the higher education community about the steps that need to be taken to keep campuses safe for all students.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office takes allegations of gender discrimination such as these very seriously. The agreement not only provides for increased training, but also revised policies and procedures as well as increased on-campus engagement and internal monitoring efforts to proactively address these issues,” said U.S. Attorney Rebecca Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio. “This agreement sends a strong message that sexual harassment on college campuses will not be tolerated, and the measures contained in the agreement will help protect current and future students. We recognize and commend the CWRU students whose efforts have brought this issue to light, and we look forward to working with the CWRU to implement this important agreement.
The department’s investigation, conducted jointly by the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio, focused on the CWRU’s response to student complaints and hundreds of reports about social media reporting sexual harassment on campus and a hostile environment in Greek life. . A quarter of CWRU’s undergraduate population attends the university’s 10 sororities and 16 fraternities. The department’s investigation concluded that, among other things, the CWRU failed to respond appropriately to the well-known climate of sexual harassment in its Greek life program. Additionally, CWRU employees have not reported complaints of sexual harassment to the office responsible for responding to such allegations and providing students with support and resources.
CWRU has cooperated fully with this investigation. THE agreement demands that the CWRU undertake far-reaching reforms, including:
- Raise awareness of Title IX policies and protocols and develop user-friendly materials so the CWRU community knows how to report concerns about gender discrimination and access resources to address them;
- Provide comprehensive annual training to all students and employees;
- Implement new, well-designed policies, protocols, and trainings to reform the University’s Greek Life programming;
- Provide students who experience gender discrimination with resources to avoid disruptions in their education;
- Fund the Women’s Center, Greek Life Office, and University Health and Counseling Services, as needed, to support students affected by gender discrimination; And
- Conduct awareness activities and analyze trends to strengthen prevention and response to gender discrimination on campus.
A summary of the agreement can be found here.
Individuals with information pertaining to CWRU’s Title IX compliance are encouraged to contact the Department of Justice at 1-866-432-0339 or Outreach.CWRU@usdoj.gov. Members of the public can report possible civil rights violations to www.civilrights.justice.gov/report/.
Protecting students from harassment and other discrimination is a top priority of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information about the Civil Rights Division is available on its website at www.justice.gov/crtand additional information about the work of the Educational Opportunities Section can be found at www.justice.gov/crt/educational-opportunities-section.
Additional information about the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio is available on its website at www.justice.gov/usao-ndoh.