Federal Authorities Examine Swarthmore College Over Sexual Assault Response

SWARTHMORE, Pa. — In response to allegations that Swarthmore College has failed to handle sexual misconduct on campus and retaliated against victims of sexual assault, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has opened an investigation against the college.

In May, a group of Swarthmore College students filed a complaint with the OCR, claiming the administration failed to properly settle sexual assaults. Students allege that school officials attempted to resolve sexual assaults through mediation between aggressors and victims. The group further claimed that administrators discouraged reporting, the Huffington Post reports.

If OCR determines the university has mishandled reports of sexual misconduct, the office would oversee a rewrite the college’s policies. OCR also has the authority to withhold federal funding to Swarthmore College.

Students also filed a complaint with the Department of Education in April, alleging that Swarthmore violated the Clery Act by underreporting sexual assaults. OCR dismissed that allegation, as it is up to the Department of Education’s Clery Compliance Division to open the Clery complaint for investigation.

In April, the college announced the school would have an external audit of its policies and procedures involving sexual assault.

Read the full story.

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